As part of our Raise the Standard campaign, lots of people have bravely been sharing their stories of being in a mental health hospital.
Enough yet is a poem by Imelda*, about their experiences in inpatient care.
have I tried moving on with my life
and not being defined by it?
I have tried nothing but, but
I'm not gasping through perspex now, but
I am in a way
and there's no threat of being IM'ed or restrained but
there is in a way
and it's barbed, tangled deep in my brain
two weeks at most, I thought
but how can I be assured
that indefinite sentences ever end after all
now each day, the reminders! such stupid ones, too:
crumbs on plates, rattling keychains, alarms, mid-2010s tunes
warped stretches of time with less than nothing to do
searched, weighed near-nude, no personhood, and
what since? moved cities, did degrees, cold and numb
look at this! I've achieved something but,
but for what? fight, flight, fawn, freeze, but
how I crave the relief of some dreams
or ambitions, some real goals, a future, an iota of peace, and
how many years since then? eight, give or take, but
even now if I lie there in darkness awake -
I'm sixteen again, back in that room, no escape, but
in reality, these days? I choose what I eat
come and go as I please
relieve myself privately - imagine such luxury! no one locks me in anywhere now, and
you know what? I'm the girl who respawned from nothing alone, so
perhaps in the course of another near-decade
I'll trust that my body is really my own
and that basic rights are in fact mine to claim
I'll stop fumbling my words as I try to explain
what went on
what it did
the inescapable pain
how I can't run from it, nor face it, make it just go away,
how I really truly do try to move on all the same.
How you can help
The Mental Health Act is 40 years old. It's the law which says when you can be detained (or sectioned), and receive mental health treatment against your will.
But it’s outdated and not working. People detained under the Act don’t have enough say in their treatment.
It's time for the UK government to Raise the Standard of mental health hospitals, and change the Act before the next election.
Sign our petition, and help us call for this.
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.
*Names have been changed to protect this person's privacy.