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Raise the Standard

Mental health hospitals are broken. Buildings are crumbling. Wards are often bare, cold and rundown. And people’s voices are being ignored. It’s time to make mental health hospitals safe. Help us Raise the Standard.

Become a campaigner

Content warning. This page talks about being in a mental health hospital, including personal stories about being restrained and suicide.

If you're looking for information about being sectioned or going into a mental health hospital:

> See our information for adults

> See our information for young people

What it's like

Mental health hospitals should be safe. They should be places of understanding, kindness and hope. Places where people feel respected and cared for. But often this isn’t the case. People have told us hospitals can be cold, frightening, noisy and prison-like.

How you can help

The Mental Health Act is 40 years old. It's the law which says when you can be  sectioned, and given mental health treatment, against your will.

But it’s not working. People detained under the Act don’t have enough say in their treatment. 

We know the UK government needs to change the Mental Health Act. 

But despite committing to reforming it in both 2017 and 2019, they failed to include it in the 2023 King’s Speech - the speech which sets out government's upcoming priorities.

Become a campaigner, and help us reform the Mental Health Act. Together, we'll Raise the Standard of mental health hospitals. 

Become a campaigner

What the UK government must do

The failings in mental health hospitals have gone on too long. 

Following the launch of our campaign earlier this year, we’ve already seen the government launch an investigation into mental health hospitals. But they need to go further. Here’s what they must do next: 

  • Deliver a reformed Mental Health Act before the next election. One that will strengthen people’s rights, choice, and control while they're in hospital.
  • Include patients and their loved ones in the investigation into mental health hospitals. This will help them see exactly why mental health hospitals are broken.
  • Widen the investigation to look at people’s whole experience. From the physical ward environment to the treatment options available. 
  • Invest in staff and buildings. So that care is safe, respectful, and delivered in the right environment. 

Learn more about why the government needs to reform the Mental Health Act.

Your experiences of mental health hospitals

As part of this campaign, so many people have bravely shared their stories of what it's like to be in a mental health hospital. Explore them below.

Tiwa spent time in lots of mental health hospitals between the ages of 16 and 18. In this video, she explains what it was like.

"Beeping of machines, sirens and alarms on repeat. Triggered my already raging PTSD endlessly."

>Read the full poem

"Inpatient wards are extremely loud places – the combined effect of too many patients, not enough staff, not enough funding."

>Read Priya's blog

"What kind of health care is this? Only 9 staff on shift. A drop of my hospital calculated portion of Fortisip."

>Read Charley's poem

"Each day blended into an endless blur of pain, my heart heavy, burdened by the weight of my brain."

>Read Emma's poem

"Left in that empty room on that cold plastic mattress,  alone within the walls that seeped fear and anguish. "

>Read Lauren's poem

"How many years since then? Eight, give or take, but even now if I lie there in darkness awake - I'm sixteen again."

>Read Imelda's poem

"School with friends turned to a locked ward with strangers. Dance classes turned to doctors upping the meds again."

>Read Mae's poem

"A troop against a halo - we scream battle cries. Apparently without war, there is no peace. Or so it goes."

>Read Lyra's poem

"In many ways we were victims ourselves of regimes that were controlling, punitive, and anachronistic"

>Read Lawrence's blog

"I am called for ward round. I speak up before immediately being shut down. Does my voice not deserve to be heard?"

>Read Freya's poem

"I've been able to start to climb back up the cliff-face, positive that one day soon I'll reach the top again."

>Read the full blog

Where to get support

We know that going into hospital for your mental health can be really scary. If you're affected by any of the issues on this page, know that you're not alone. We have information on going into hospital, the care you might get, and what happens if you're sectioned.

> Read our information for adults

> Read our information for young people

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