The Truth About Mental Hospitals


Due to the media, people have fairly intense assumptions about mental hospitals that are not true.

Lei Murphy, Reporter

Padded rooms. Straight Jackets. Psychosis.

These are common phrases associated with mental hospitals. Because the media stigmatizes psych hospitals, people have extreme associations with them. 

So when I found myself in the hospital, I was undoubtedly fearful. Much of it is due to how the media portrays psychiatric hospitals.

Safe. Comforting. Recovery.

This is the truth about mental hospitals. From personal experience, I can tell you they are not a place with people locked in padded rooms, wearing white scrubs or intense violence. 

What actually goes on inside these places is group therapy, treatment and structured activities. 

Every patient I talked to inside the hospital had a different story. A poor home situation, a lost loved one, feelings of being unsafe at home, or trouble with an eating disorder. Some of us just need a break from the stress that life brings.

Mental illness is not a synonym for crazy.

I was there because I didn’t feel safe by myself. Being there is hard, but it directs you toward the path of recovery. I’m proud to say that I am now on that track.

Admitting you need to be checked into a mental hospital is one of the strongest things you can do for yourself.

Being there isn’t always easy either, there are certain things you’re not allowed to do that get frustrating. The reason behind those rules is to prevent people from getting triggered. You’re not allowed to touch other people because it could be a trigger for other patients. Sometimes this is annoying because you can’t hug people when they are discharged from the hospital. It’s bittersweet to see other patients leave because you miss them, but you know they’re on the path to recovery.

The most common reason for checking in is feeling unsafe on your own. Staying in the hospital is a temporary precaution to be sheltered from the outside world.

One example of a negative portrayal of mental hospitals is from the movie, “The Visit.” The ending of the movie explains that the two fake grandparents were escaped mental patients.

People hear the phrase ‘mental patients’ and run with it. 

Being a mental patient isn’t something negative, it means getting help. It means recovering. It means strength.

Don’t get me wrong, people that commit murder are awful human beings, but the difference between someone who murders and someone who has depression is a huge contrast.

In my experience, there has never been someone who wants to hurt others on the same unit as people struggling with mental illness. Patients who are deemed as violent to themselves or other patients are moved to a separate unit with more staff to keep them safe.

Mental illness is something a lot of us struggle with. The thing is, we’re so good at hiding it the average person wouldn’t even know. 

It could be anyone.

The person in the waiting room at the doctors. Your table partner at school. A close friend. 

You truly never know what someone is going through, so if all you can do is be kind, then do it.

The next time you hear about someone being admitted to a mental hospital, don’t be so quick to judge them. Be proud of them, for they are fighting a battle you know nothing about.