I have only seen psych wards depicted in prison settings. Granted, most of them are portrayed in a negative light with abusive caretakers or corrupt people running them.
What I’m trying to say is that I have no idea how and if psych wards work since patients don’t really get cured in the media that I’ve consumed.
Lucky for those who want to know the answer, another curious soul went to the subreddit NoStupidQuestions to ask, “How are psych wards supposed to be helpful?”
They mention that the patients confined in a psych ward are cut off from their loved ones, forced to take medications, may lose their jobs, and can suffer financially from the various medical charges they can accumulate during their stay.
OP also mentioned that their boyfriend was once locked in the ward and was taking 9 pills a day at one point during his stay.
So OP asks, how can psych wards be helpful to someone struggling with mental health, especially considering the heavy consequences of being cut off from the world? OP also clarifies in an edit that their question is completely US-based, and is referring strictly to cases of depression and anxiety.
In simpler terms, this user describes psych wards as emergency rooms for the mind. To add to this answer, other users provided more details to answer OP’s question more accurately when it comes to being confined in a ward.
There are strict criteria for people that are recommended to stay in a ward; most patients are those who pose significant dangers to themselves or others. Inpatients usually stay only for a few days, but others may stay for around a month. Those who are considered stable are given their meds and they can go back home with a schedule for a follow-up.
As for OP’s concern about patients being cut off from family, it’s false. Family members can visit patients and are given timely opportunities for phone calls.
Another user who was once an inpatient at a psych hospital also commented and said that their stay at the hospital was “a quite pleasant experience.” Other than a few clothes, they didn’t really have any personal belongings with them, but visitors were allowed during their stay, and they were able to hang out with other patients during the evenings.
And then another user, one who currently works for a short-term psych facility that is similar to OP’s description of a psych ward, said that they allow patients to use their phones for a short time in order to get some needed numbers or pay bills, but any other belongings are kept until the patients get discharged. They also added that those who are thinking of getting admitted get to stay there until they get better. Even if you want to check yourself out, the doctors are allowed to refuse you.
The ward employee said, “…On the surface, yes, it looks like we just pass drugs all day, but most of our patients are regular people who just had a rough go of it, and most of those people just need meds to fix whatever snapped, even if for just a little while. It’s not perfect, but if you had to choose between suicidal depression or just being generally meh, you would probably choose meh.”
A Redditor also shared their experiences of being an inpatient in multiple psych wards, with their first admission being when they were only 18. They’re 37 now, and they said that they enjoyed it and that they are definitely helpful.
Sad to say for OP, but they admitted that they and their partner may have just been unlucky in their experiences. Hopefully, if they ever needed to go to a psychiatric hospital again (which I’m hoping they don’t), they get to go to a decent one that won’t let them suffer the bad experiences they had with their first one.
Read the original post below.