Against Their Will: Locked away in a mental hospital after voluntarily seeking help

An 11-year-old boy was locked in a mental hospital for a week after his mother took him there voluntarily seeking help. He’s not alone.

A note to viewers & readers

The accounts of people shared here should not dissuade individuals from getting mental health help. But, too often, experts say that for-profit, private facilities do not choose the “least restrictive appropriate setting” for therapy, as mandated by current law, and instead default to locking up people in more expensive inpatient care when it’s not necessary.
You can get help without getting locked up. Do your homework, and know your rights.

Imagine walking into a mental health facility voluntarily because you want help.

Then, the door locks behind you. You’re told you can’t leave. Stripped of your clothes, given a new bed. You have no idea when you’ll see your family again.

Now imagine you are 11 years old.  more

When ‘Not Guilty’ Is a Life Sentence

What happens after a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity? Often the answer is involuntary confinement in a state psychiatric hospital — with no end in sight.

Despite Ann’s determination to betray no emotion, a drop of sweat rolled down her temple as a guard painstakingly examined her lunch items. That Sunday morning, she had taken two buses, two trains and a shuttle to get from her home to the New York state psychiatric facility where her son is confined. Frustrated, she pushed back a little, but just a little, when the guard took away two sealed bottles of fruit-flavored water, a special treat that Ann had made an extra stop to buy. She watched as he held them up to examine them and concluded that they must contain caffeine — which is not allowed — because they did not read, “Does not contain caffeine.”  more