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On a scale of 1 to 10

As part of our Raise the Standard campaign, lots of people have bravely been sharing their stories of being in a mental health hospital.

On a scale of 1 to 10 is a poem by Charley, about their experiences as an inpatient.

Content warning. This poem talks about suicide and being restrained. 

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

On a scale of one to 10.

1 day the institutionalisation began,

The IM hits my blood stream, slowly collapsing my screams and resistance,
or maybe just my consciousness,
in just 1 dose.

My detention approved by 2 or more mental health professionals,
screw AMP.

The paper in front of me
detailing the detention assigned to my distress,
section 3.

They don’t care for us, they are paid
to be here and hold the keys to leave
whilst we are here,
behind 4 locked doors.

5 days a week,
we are expected to interact
with Occupational Therapy and education
in between CBT homework and protected mealtimes.

The days begin to blur
between skipped meal and risk events
section, 6 months long.

Restraint often following the siren of the panic alarm,
7 strangers holding you down.
Just calm down!
How can you expect me to be calm?
Stop resisting!
If you let me die, I wouldn’t be resisting death
hands unlike yours that clamp down on my scarred wrists.
You are safe!
Safe? Yeah right, my friends have died in your hands,
the hands of the nurses meant to keep them safe,
that fell asleep while my friends began their never ending slumber
and end to their pain,
so please tell me how “safe” I am.
Let us help you!
No one can help me.

Surely this was all a nightmare,
sleep only 8 hours long,
even with the help of the PRN
that I didn’t request,
but you just thought I needed.

What kind of health care is this?
Only 9 staff on shift.

A drop of my hospital calculated portion of Fortisip,
10 bottles maybe more.

So, on a scale on one to ten.
I’ve always identified more with the scale then with the numbers,
unless you include my cyclical counting from anxiety.
In the end I will answer 5.
5 is a number so often ignored,
it falls in the middle,
nothing too severe or too trivial.
I will let you deduce the sincerity of my answer.

If I answer with the correct sequence of numbers to these mundane questions,
does it give you a clue
to decoding the cypher of my brains’ enigma?
Or could it be a hint,
for the code of the door that locks me in seclusion
after all my answers?
It could be anywhere between.


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.

Sign the petition

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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