A lot of people ask me what a psychiatric unit is like, from the bedrooms to the staff and the facilities to the activities. So here is a short insight into one aspect of my stay; my room.
This is indicative of my room solely at the psychiatric unit; my bedroom at the Mother and Baby Unit was a palace in comparison.
The rooms fortunately were singles, so there was no sharing or dormitories and each with identical with the exception of two.
The first thing you notice when you go in, is that essentially you are staying in a place that looks very much like a prison cell. A single bed in the corner, a bedside table, single chair, wardrobe and wash basin. But, on further inspection, you start to notice the finer details.
The bed has a rubber mattress, pillow and duvet with sheets made of rip proof material. (my mattress also had cigarette stains in, but that’s another issue).
The wardrobe had no door and no wardrobe rail.
The sink had no plug and no taps, instead little buttons that would release water for around 5 seconds at whatever temperature it decided.
The window, covered with a rather attractive black metal mesh had rip proof curtains and a rail that was stuck to the wall. Ironically, outside the window was the hospital wall and next to it; a ladder. I’m still unsure if someone thought that was a funny joke and to be honest, I did chuckle a little, whilst simultaneously thinking every so often whether I could get out and over the wall without making too much noise!
There was no warmth, décor or anything that would comfort a person in distress but…it was safe. Everything that could be used to self harm or do anything silly had been removed.
I can imagine, particularly from the press coverage at the moment, that people actually serving time in prison probably have much more; televisions, drawers, the freedom to put up posters but here, the goal is to keep everyone free from danger. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.
Below is a link to a small picture of the rooms.