Anonymous Story (IV)
"I Have No Sympathy for Her"
I only spent a week in psychiatric care but it was enough for me to know that the system was broken and that kids were collateral. While I understand the idea that good behavior means privileges, in some ways it goes too far. Why can’t someone listen to the radio for music if they had an outburst? Music, especially for me, has always been a source of positive emotions. I remember being told by other kids that they would be discouraged from asking for snacks, even to kids who suffered from EDs [eating disorders]. A kid no older than middle school was sectioned and on a 3:1 [3 staff following them]. She was throwing a yoga ball against the barrier between one unit and another. A worker commented while sitting at a table with me that: “I have no sympathy for her." That broke me in a way.
These people are supposed to help me and I’m supposed to trust them, yet they judge a mentally ill middle schooler. Then COVID-19 hit my unit, and all of a sudden we were confined to our rooms 24/7 with no group therapy unless it was outside (understaffed so not much group therapy). The only times I would meet with a professional would be a short conversation in my room. The lack of interaction made me miserable and honestly drove me to recover because I never want to be in that situation again. I know COVID is difficult and caused a lot of changes in the system but COVID had been around for over a year at that point. There should have been accommodations and plans for this situation.
I think the mental health institutions and all aspects of mental health need great improvement and a change in mindset. Children should not be hurting when they finally get help.