At the Forefront of Medicine: My Summer Involuntary Hospitalization

Subtitled “A neuroscience student reflects on the psychiatric system’s failure to care for its patients”, this article by Cassidy Wilson, written within an American context, has been published by The Chicago Maroon. It begins:

“Our culture conditions us to keep quiet about mental health interventions and the trauma that can co-occur with those experiences. Due to both the stigma about people who receive mental health interventions and misconceptions about us, there is very little conversation around how the mental healthcare system itself can be traumatizing even as it claims to be a system of care. When survivors do speak up, we take a risk. There seems to be a drastic mismatch between the narrative that people have about what psychiatric interventions are like and the reality. There is very little visibility for psychiatric survivors, and as such, people have a narrow conception of who we are. This allows a narrative of medical benevolence to be upheld because people who have survived traumatic psychiatric intervention are dismissed by virtue of the stigma around their experience.

In June 2021, I was committed to UChicago Medicine’s psychiatric ward against my will. As I discussed this experience with others—including those who work in the mental health field—I was often met with surprise. My experiences did not fit with their expectations because they assumed that psychiatric facilities help patients rather than hurt them. From the moment the UCPD came to my door, I knew that what followed would not be care. I study neuroscience and human rights in the College, with a particular focus on psychiatric ethics and pedagogies of pathologization. I have read extensively on these topics, so I know that the psychiatric system too often harms the patients it purports to help. Even knowing the lengths to which these institutions go to protect themselves at a cost to patients, I still felt dehumanized by what occurred, and I left in a worse mental state than I arrived …”

You can read more from here.

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