Psychiatric wards have a pretty bad reputation, but they’re no longer the horror settings from Victorian novels. I was voluntarily admitted to a Psychiatric ward after a suicide attempt two years ago.

Contrary to the common misconception, I was not locked away for a long time with no control over my life: I was released after only a week, and was allowed out on leave once they deemed me well enough to cope with them. I wanted to provide a bit of information for those who may be considering how best to keep them self or their loved one safe.

Being admitted is a little scary. You walk into a building of strangers, but the doctors and nurses are normally friendly and are there to help. When I first arrived I had a meeting with my keyworker who introduced herself and helped me to settle in. She took a walk with me whenever she was on shift, I know a guy whose keyworker used to bring in board games to play with him.

The ward I was put into was very modern and clean, I had my own room with a key where I could escape if I wanted to be alone. I wore my own clothes and my friends and family brought in books and puzzles to keep me occupied while I was there. There was a main lounge with a television and surprisingly comfortable seating. A dining room and kitchen where we could help ourselves to tea, coffee, biscuits and oddly – custard. They offered activities such as going to the onsite gym, playing pool and even baking.

While it wasn’t exactly fun, and was far from a holiday; it was a place where I didn’t have to worry about anything or constantly fight for survival. So if you are admitted, are considering it, or have a loved one who is facing admission; I want to encourage you. It’s not as bad as you may think.

If you’re worried about keeping yourself safe please talk to someone.

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