"My time at Millbrook."
About: Millbrook Mental Health Unit Millbrook Mental Health Unit G17 4JL
Posted by frostzz76 (as ),
My admission into Millbrook was a roller-coaster of a time. There would be days when staff would seem to care and make time to talk to you and then weeks when patients would be left unable to even have 5 minutes to talk to somebody when they were struggling.
Admittedly is not the fault of the staff, but not enough was done to prevent drugs from coming in. I think staff knew about it but there was nothing they could. Several times I was verbally attacked by several patients when they were suffering from withdrawal from the drugs; my life was threatened, I was called all sorts of horrible names which triggered incidents for me and I even had to run to my bedroom to hide from one of the patients when they was being aggressive towards me because I feared for my safety.
I did not find the wards a therapeutic environment in any way shape or form. Some staff would talk in a negative way about other staff loud enough for patients like me and others to hear, staff would say equally negative things about other patients again within the ear shot of lots of people which I think is unprofessional and we as patients had a lot of conversations revolving around the fact that we didn't want to go to staff with any issues because we worried about what they were saying about us when we were not there.
I felt my consultant on the ward told frequent lies. This knocked my faith in the entire system and made me disengage with the majority of people. I was prescribed a PRN medication by a doctor who worked with my psychiatrist and the nurses on shift one day decided to give me a lower dose despite me needing the higher dosage.
There were coffee stains on the ceiling, blood stains left on the wall, holes in the walls, stagnant carpets, the smell of stale cigarettes, hair left in the bath, dirty cups everywhere and many other things which again I know is not the responsibility of the staff but made the ward feel grimy and not hospital like at all.
I heard and observed certain members of staff being controlling, overly strict and sometimes pretty aggressive towards patients. There was someone on the ward who through no fault of their own could not look after their personal hygiene. I did not see staff help this person to change their clothes or prompt them to wash when they were starting to smell bad. It felt like this was a common occurrence on the ward. A lot of people did not shower or change their clothes for a long time and I think this should be the job of the staff to gently prompt people to maintain their own cleanliness as it is common for people with mental health conditions to struggle with this but nobody on the ward seemed to bother, despite the whole corridors near the bedrooms smelling quite bad sometimes too.
On the occasions that I was struggling and felt able to approach staff for support I was more often than not told that they were too busy at that moment but would get back to me, which exclusively never happened and I was left without talking to anybody. Or I would be asked where my peers were on the ward and told to spend time with them instead which admittedly I would do a lot of the time but other patients I were close to also had their own mental health issues to deal with and should not be expected to support me through a crisis or a difficult time, this should be facilitated by staff. Peer support is important sometimes but relying on other patients to be the ones to talk to you when you had something on your mind or needed to talk about your mental health is not fair on them. This also happened in the reverse wherein other patients were told to come and find me when they were struggling which I do not mind about when I am feeling okay but when I was struggling myself, I was in no place to be supporting other people and found myself being occasionally triggered by other people's struggles. I feel that most of the staff do not have the time to spend with patients, even when they were struggling which is understandable when the ward was short staffed however when there would be extra staff not on observations or the door board, they would be most likely to be found sitting in the nursing office.
This is not true for everybody however, the ward I was on did have some absolutely great staff who can't be faulted at all, however, those staff were usually on observations for pretty much all of the shift or running round after everyone. I know this story is mostly quite negative but I am just trying to give an honest review of the ward from a patients point of view. The ward did have some good points like great activity coordinators, plenty of communal spaces and a good range of books/dvds to keep people from getting bored but in all honesty, it was not a hugely positive place for me and I don't feel as if I made a lot of progress in my time there.