Brighton & Hove Clinic
Written by a patient
26th July 2016
I attended for seven weeks as an inpatient for the treatment of depression,Bipolar Disorder and loss of appetite. I was thin and vulnerable.The quality of my daily care and treatment depended on which nurses,care assistants,and doctor were on duty that day and more importantly who had been assigned to me as my particular carer for the day. If a nurse assigned as my carer did not like me or believe in my depression then I was in for a bad day.Bullying and humiliation by some of the staff are the norms.They may not be aware how bad their behavior has become.
Even though I had been referred by a psychiatrist and was on a number of meds a nurse told me that because I was 'so smiley' the ward staff had decided that there was nothing wrong with me and they questioned why I was there at all.Maybe that is why they treated me as they did.
Possibly those in charge are unable to see that their behavior is inappropriate.They seemed to have little understanding/training concerning depression and its effects.I was constantly told that it was my responsibility to get better.That I had to take responsibility for my illness.
While there I was checked on every fifteen minutes.The checkers are supposed to get help if a patient is unwell but they would often ignore my crying or roll their eyes and walk away.Once a very kind nurse assistant did try to get help as I had been crying uncontrollably and self-harming for some time but the nurses on duty-even my assigned carer-refused to come to see me to assess my condition.Not until the staff changed at 8pm did anyone come to my room.I had been left alone,crying and self-harming for hours.
I needed a special diet.My meals were often hours late and inedible.Nurses told me that (even though I was so ill) it was my responsibility to complain if food was late or inedible but if I did complain I often got a sarcastic or dismissive answer.
In my second week, I tried to complain to the ward doctor about a nurse's aggressive and inappropriate behaviour. He refused to listen and talking over me repeated the same phrase over and over 'no she didn't' no she didn't' 'no she didn't'. This is bullying!
Day patients and inpatients have therapy sessions together.This does not work as the day patients usualy dominate the sessions.
When I left the Priory I was still very ill. I thought the chances of returning were high so in a survey about my stay I wrote lovely descriptions of all the staff in the hope that if I came back they would be nicer to me.Pathetic I know!
BUT some members of staff were WONDERFUL.Thank you to those people.
When I went back to the Priory for an appointment I met a nurse from the ward she asked me if everything was alright now I replied honestly that 'no it wasn’t'. She began to laugh out loud saying that she ‘probably shouldn’t have asked me that question’.She walked away laughing. Would she have laughed If I had any other condition that was not improving? Of course not.To her my mental health was a joke. I was at fault and responsible for my condition.This seems to be the base line belief of most of the staff at the Priory.These are outdated and damaging beliefs that no one working in a psychiatric unit should hold.
I now have an NHS mental health nurse and therapist.They are knowledgeable,caring and never tell me that I am responsible for my Bipolar Disorder.