Change the environment at Psychiatric Emergency Services at St Joe's Charlton

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!

Psychiatric emergency services (PES) at St Joseph's Charlton in Hamilton, ON has a horrible environment for those experiencing mental health crisis. It is currently the first step for hospital intervention regarding mental health in Hamilton. Patients are required to be assessed by the psychiatry team at PES to be either discharged or sent to an inpatient unit. This means that a visit to this unit is necessary when seeking help for mental crises. Sadly, the condition of this unit is far from acceptable. The patient rooms have mattresses on either cement blocks or the floor. There are mosquitoes that fly around the department and rooms. There are markings on the ceilings and walls that have not been changed since at least the 90s. There's no pillows for the beds. The fluorescent lights are left on when patients are trying to sleep. The hall reeks of cigarettes and under one of the mattresses you can see a cigarette burn. The patient rooms look very similar to confinement rooms in prisons - I understand that the set up is required in case patient seclusion is needed when staff safety is jeopardized but it definitely needs to be updated. When someone is vulnerable due to their mental health, they should not be in a run-down facility as it exacerbates their symptoms. 

I personally had several bad experiences here specifically in the summer of 2018. The environment itself made me feel like a prisoner or a monster. Some staff seemed to have developed a culture of checking in on patients infrequently maybe due to previous experiences of violence (since mental health care is a high-risk job) but this doesn't discount the little amount that some staff chose to check in on me. I felt like I was a bother. What I needed at this time was therapeutic communication or even touch. I was in a state of panic and high anxiety and needed to be assured that everything was going to be okay. I had no family or visitors with me 90% of the time and as a result needed some kind of human interaction - the lack there of lead to the worsening of symptoms. 

Please sign this petition if you understand how wrong it is to keep mental health patients in a dirty, unwelcoming atmosphere.