Boston Globe article

Here is the article. I am subscribed to the Globe simply so I can comment there. My comment, which I posted, is below.

I am a first-hand witness to the horrors of psych ER holds. Some ERs separate out the psych area entirely. BMC is one. Back in 2011, when I was 53 years old, I was held there for three days. We were all strip-searched upon arrival, allowed to wear only a johnny. I wasn’t suicidal so they made exception and “allowed” me a pencil and paper. I used that to record everything I saw and heard. They held us in a five-room facility where we had only a bed, no pillow, and one guard watched us through cameras. My room was close to where the guards convened and I could here them talking. They had uniformed security there also. Is this any way to treat human beings?

Other psych prisoners like myself felt relieved to get off the ER and onto the wards, only to be shocked, dismayed and disappointed over what we then faced. The wards, too, were prisons. We were locked in, drugged, and many held there with no end in sight. I witnessed unspeakable cruelty in those places. During that time, I witnessed patients lose their jobs, their homes, or experience grave monetary loss. Most left off in the same or worse condition than when they arrived. Patients got injured frequently. Many told me, the day they left, that their issues were not addressed or were even outright ignored.

Human rights abuses were unbelievable. Patient rights laws were never followed. Never. I was one of the few that spoke up. Many patients/prisoners just resign themselves to second-class citizenry, which can last a lifetime since these diagnoses stay on your record unless you take drastic measures to get them off.

Many of us were even called Frequent Flyers. We were not seen as human, but as things, and even merely as a source of income for these institutions. We were held for as long as we made a profit.

People on the outside didn’t realize this, but being treated like you are subhuman does have repercussions. I know very few who weren’t traumatized by lockup, either by the severe abuse they endured there, or by being locked up long-term or repeatedly. Lockup ruins people’s lives. Many never recovered from the experience.

Feedback and comments welcome!