As part of our Raise the Standard campaign, lots of people have bravely been sharing their stories of being in a mental health hospital.
Lauren wrote this poem to go with a photograph their daughter took a few weeks before she got sectioned.
Before you got sectioned;
We would go for drives up Abbotsbury Hill, park up, look at the crisp blue sea and count ships in the bay.
You would snap photographs of sheep eating grass and I would watch you take them.
We talked, breathed the fresh sea air and watched the sun set.
And if mental illness had not stormed in and turned our worlds upside down,
consuming your every waking moment;
Stealing the last few precious years of your childhood
you wouldn’t have been locked up like some caged animal.
Dragged around, thrown to the floor, and pinned down for hours by 6 men lying on top of you, digging their nails deep until you bled,
and when you were too broken, injected.
Left in that empty room on that cold plastic mattress,
alone within the walls that seeped fear and anguish.
I would not have spent hours driving thousands of miles for just a few moments;
and meetings, tribunals, letters, radio station interviews, screaming help, please help, save her.
Before you were sectioned;
We were just mother and daughter
Spending time together, making memories on that hill.
And we would get back into the car, turn to each other and say
Let’s go home.
"I wanted to capture the happy memory of that moment, but also how we had always taken for granted the freedom we had that we could just go home after. Once sectioned I longed for the day we could say let’s go home. It never happened as the abuse she suffered in hospital meant she declined so significantly that after spending 2 years in various institutions she was never well enough to return to our family home and is now supported in her own home with a care team."
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But it’s outdated and not working.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.