One of the letters I wrote a year ago to parliamentary members concerning the dehumanising conditions of psychiatric care facilities in Australia

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

... to which the response was rhetorical and gratifying, and not worth mentioning...

To: ___________@parliament.nsw.gov.au 

To whom it may concern,

Please appreciate the following complaints I am lodging against NSW Health (at least _____, _____hospital) and the request:

I would like to request, based on my own experience as a former patient of _____, the mental health division of _____ hospital, that more funding be applied in lieu of these facilities being understaffed (or rather just the one I myself experienced, but I presume it is a similar scenario elsewhere).

More nurses must be employed for proper care to be given to patients. The fundamental rift in communication between patients and nurses resulting from mutual mistrust is harmful to both patients and staff (reminds me of the Harvard Stanford-Miller experiment a little bit). Effective communication is the best therapy. I didn't see a single psychiatrist or psychologist my entire time as a patient there except Mr _____ and he only asked me questions and assessed my state of mind. He did not employ CBT or any other psychiatric techniques relevant and appropriate in the situation described, and I lacked access to any other. My own doctor would not speak to my on the phone. The receptionist there told me it was out of her hands. I was essentially trapped for 5 days against my will. At least that's how it felt.

Furthermore, as far as I saw, Official Visitors, whom are meant to be independent from NSW Health, did little to nothing when I observed them other than take a few pictures of things that looked clean and perform their duties. When I approached one I was not helped in the slightest in that scenario, but that's a story for another day.

All of the activities listed neatly on laminated sheets on the walls, among the inspirational quotes, are redundant, because they are not observed. I was a patient for 5 days. We were allowed into the gym once and it was only myself and one other patient who attended. No chaplain was made available as it said on the sheet. I was not allowed the chance to talk to a holy man, despite that it was listed on the activities sheet - which itself was displayed proudly outside of the common hall so that every patient and staff member saw it each and every day...

...for the most part all anyone ever did every day was wake up from their antipsychotic-induced sleep, make their way to the activities room and watch TV and use the iPad to listen to music all day, and drink decaffeinated beverages constantly as well as puff on poor quality nicotine sticks or use nicotine replacement therapy. The rest was heavy sedatives (benzodiazepines and antipsychotics for the most part) and dehumanisation.

In summary I am requesting immediate funding for staffing of more nurses (and doctors if possible) at _____, the mental health division of _____ hospital. My experience limits my scope to this facility alone. I doubt I will see another, but if I do I will be sure it will be a dehumanising experience such as that I experienced in 5 days of involuntary psychiatric confinement in _____.

Please do the right thing.

Warmest regards,
Olive Tree


Submitted: October 16, 2021

© Copyright 2021 olive tree. All rights reserved.

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Comments

hullabaloo22

Well said!

Sat, October 16th, 2021 1:05pm

Author
Reply

Thanks!

Sat, October 16th, 2021 6:49am

dewey green

The pill pushing band-aid stations are set up for their own profits, there's no such thing as "Healthcare" anymore, it's pharma backed psych docs with their greedy fingers in the government's till. You might as well be blinkin cattle, corralled and herded through the bullshit system of mass conformity. Modern medicine in general is a joke, albiet a profitable one.

Sat, October 16th, 2021 6:40pm

Author
Reply

No argument there!

I don my tin foil hat to you Dewey,

and I proudly hold my middle finger to the world

because it may yet be considered a crime to speak the words "Fuck you, cunt."

We are gems in a world of fibreglass, to honour Bob Dylan.

It can be easy to forget to love yourself, and one another, surrounded by such grotesque indifference.

Sun, October 17th, 2021 2:24am

moa rider

I've done my share of writing to parliamentarians, Oli, and none of it changes anything. Duck-shuffling at best or no reply at all. I suspect their secretaries only let them see 'certain' stuff anyway. But it does my heart good to have my say, so good on you for having yours. Usianguke

Sat, October 16th, 2021 8:14pm

Author
Reply

Yeah I was sufficiently pissed off enough to write a series of letters outlining the dehumanising conditions of the psychiatric institution I was involuntarily admitted to and forced to take antipsychotics. It was treated as a manic episode indicative of bipolar disorder, but as it turns out it was simply a stress and (prescription) drug induced mental breakdown, an isolated event. Boy did I have to fight to have that much acknowledged. Nothing I said mattered. If you’re a patient in there, you may as well be a deaf mute. Fucking horrifying and despicable and makes me ashamed to have ever perused a career in NSW health!!

Like you said, the MP response was phatic language, vague and meaningless gestures of virtue and improvement, but really it was likely a copy-paste sent to everyone who dares initiate a ministerial correspondence, as if the job of the government weren’t to act in the interests of the public…

To quote that weird TV show in Daria, “welcome back to sick, sad world”.

Sat, October 16th, 2021 9:50pm

Al Ashcott

Hello Olive!

I like the structured, polite, and extremely eloquent way you wrote this letter. Well done and well said. But, as somebody said before in the comments, these letters, unfortunately, won't change anything. And still, I think we (whomever has been treated badly or unfair by officials) should continue writing letters like this. Just for the sake of making THEM (the authorities of whatever) feel uncomfortable, watched, judged, and mistrusted by the public and occupying them with reading these letters! :D

Al

Thu, October 21st, 2021 9:52pm

Author
Reply

Hey Al

Thanks for commenting

I knew all along these letters wouldn’t amount to much.

Those bureaucrats are far too jaded to feel anything human.

I did succeed in getting an ‘inmate’ transferred out of that hell hole, though. Small accomplishment but at least I did something useful.

I recall the main reason I did this was to set a precedent, at the very least, as a form of protest against the involuntary psychiatric confinement I suffered, which I’m pretty sure I now have PTSD from, and never want to visit a hospital again.

Thu, October 21st, 2021 9:06pm

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