Living on a mental health ward
From the 4th of December 2015, I was referred to the Newberry Centre as an informal patient. I’ll spare you all the triggering details, just know that I wasn’t too happy about this. During my first month, I attended group therapy as well as individual sessions. Despite my social anxiety, I managed to attend 2 sessions. Fast forward to January; had been accessing regular leave and even stayed at home for 2 weeks at Christmas. 2 days after I arrived back, I was ‘assaulted’ (in proper terms) by another patient. It’s now March, and I’m officially done with tier 4 care and moving onto generalised CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service).
Some things to know if you or a friend are faced with inpatient help:
1. TAKE IT!
Look, I know that even the word ‘inpatient’ is scary, but it will be okay. My first night was rough, everybody’s is. The staff I saw were always so kind and helpful. Being placed in a bubble away from the outside world can be really good for your mental health. Another thing is bed spaces. The ward I was on only had 14 beds, and I was the 12th admission. The moral of the story is: take the bed! I had to go in the same night or I couldn’t be guaranteed a bed. If you truly want to get better, you’ll take the next available bed.
2. FOLLOW THE RULES!
It's as simple as it sounds. Following the rules is going to make your admission x100 easier. Resistance will lead to your admission being questioned or immediate discharge. If other patients are breaking the rules, let them. You have NOTHING to prove to anybody. Following the rules also makes it more likely for you to be allowed more home or local leave depending on your admission terms.
3. FOCUS ON YOU!
Whilst making friends makes time go a lot quicker, remember why you’re there. Attend all your appointments and be honest. The therapist and staff will think no less of you if you’re having a bad day. 1 to 1 sessions with any member of staff are also available at any time, so don’t suffer alone!
After ward education (or whatever form of education you do), take time out to have a bath or read a book. Make YOU time. This is key to recovery.
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