Mental Health


Mia Barnes

9 Myths and Misconceptions About Mental Health Hospitalization

Mental health hospitals often get a bad reputation. Media tends to exaggerate certain aspects of confinement, which can blur the line between reality and fiction. Someone seeking mental health care might start to wonder whether hospitalization is even an option in their journey to recovery. 

Mental health hospitalization isn’t exactly perfect yet. However, it has many worthwhile qualities that make it a viable step toward improving. You just have to look beyond the myths and misconceptions about it. 


1. Mental Health Facilities Are Unsafe


Mental facilities focus on their patients’ safety. Any devices or clothing items that may pose a risk are confiscated from the premises. The minimal decor also ensures little to nothing in the space can be weaponized. 

Patients can interact with one another. However, anyone deemed unsafe is timed out or separated from the rest of the group. Policies may change depending on the size and capabilities of a mental health hospital. 


2. Mental Health Care Is for Big Issues


Reserving mental health care for severe cases is a common misconception that requires more clarity. Services and hospitalization are open for all conditions. Even periodic ailments like seasonal depression still deserve help and attention. 

The stigma about mental health is more prominent than ever, though there is a subtle progression. For instance, only 31% of Americans were worried about retaliation for seeking mental health care in 2022. The figure is lower than the 43% from 2021 and 2020. 


3. Mental Health Facilities Are Unkempt


Mental health hospitals are often depicted as grim and unmaintained. However, they are actually clean and well-kept for patients. The look can vary depending on whether you’re in a private institution or a public facility.

Private treatment centers may offer patients their own rooms, while public ones provide a semi-private suite to share with others. Common areas, such as the canteen or lounge, are available and sanitized for rest and socialization. 


4. Patients Are Restricted in Bed


Some people think patients can only stay in bed, but they are free to roam the facilities while monitored by staff. This precaution ensures you are safe from harm and don’t unintentionally hurt others. Employees can see whether you experience side effects from the medication and provide aid when needed.

Mental health hospitals are usually located in the countryside. While it may contribute to stigmatization, having these facilities away from urban centers lessens exposure to noise and pollution. This placement also keeps the space accessible for people in rural areas.


5. Patients Are Completely Isolated


Phones are off-limits in mental health hospitals so you can focus on your journey. However, there’s still plenty of human interaction. People are encouraged to mingle with others in common areas. 

You also get to see and talk with your assigned caretaker. Many medical professionals showcase plenty of compassion, asking how you’re feeling and whether you have plans for the day. Some may even suggest group activities to try out. 

Family and loved ones are more than welcome to visit, depending on your condition and whether you consent. Visiting times and dates will change from institution to institution. Patients may have a bedtime curfew, so afternoons are a prime time to organize and schedule. 


6. Patients Have to Stay a Long Time


Hospitalization can sometimes take a week, while some people stay for a few months. How long you take with your mental health care can depend on your overall condition and whether you feel ready to go or not.

Remember that your stay also varies depending on the type of psychiatry facility you check into. Certain treatment centers focus on short-term treatments, while others provide long-term care. Discuss what schedule may work best for you and whether a hospital can accommodate you. 


7. Patients Can’t Do Anything


Mental health hospitals are well-equipped with recreational programs and facilities. For example, you can do pilates to improve your emotional balance and work on your physical wellness. You can also paint or draw to get your creative juices flowing and release your thoughts into art.

Most of these activities are compulsory instead of mandatory. If you don’t want to engage in activities and choose bed rest instead, that’s fine. However, medical professionals will likely encourage you to participate during your stay. 


8. Patients Are Forced Into Medical Procedures


Mental health hospitals are just like any other facilities. Patients and providers make informed decisions and provide consent about medical procedures. Professionals are barred from coercing the sick into processes and medication. 

The only time patients don’t get autonomy over their treatment decisions is if they do not have capacity due to mental health conditions. For example, people with schizophrenia lack an understanding of their symptoms and how it affects them. This may require emergency hospitalization.


9. Patients Cannot Leave of Their Own Volition


Patients with decision-making capabilities can leave the mental health hospital if they feel prepared. They discuss the matter with their doctor to see whether they are ready. They also talk about what outpatient care will look like to continue the recovery process.

There are cases where doctors will require patients to remain hospitalized. Some people who end mental health hospitalization may have to come back. It usually happens if their condition requires intensive supervision and treatment. 


Demystify Mental Health Hospitalization


Mental health hospitalization gets negative traction because of its misconceptions. The truth is it can be fulfilling for patients to disconnect from the world and focus on recovery. Don’t hesitate to get care when you need it.

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