"My experience of Becklin Centre"
About: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust / Inpatient mental health care Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Inpatient mental health care LS15 8ZB
Posted by Agent for Change (as ),
I feel that staff do not appreciate how stressful a hospital admission is, especially on the 1st time it happens. It is upsetting for close family members as well, but staff were rude to my mother and my mother asked me why they were ignoring her and talking to her with hostility. I said to my mother, it's because they have issues with me not you - my mother was a visitor visiting me.
Staff say you can be escorted out for a cigarette hourly - but most of the time you had to wait up to 3 hrs – I started self-harming (never done this before and stopped after discharge) as a way to cope with cravings - scratching my arms until they bled. I felt better than holding the anger and distress I had whilst being shouted at for asking for a cigarette. I used meditation and breathing techniques as a coping strategy and was told that I was 'sitting funny' that was how they commented it in my notes - staff were supposed to respect religious beliefs but they recorded my meditation as odd behaviour of symptoms of psychosis.
I asked for vegan meals on 1st day of admission - it took over 2 weeks before I actually got a vegan meal - I felt that they were not respecting religious beliefs. I saw a staff member eating a plate of dinner in the dining room whilst telling another patient that she didn't understand vegans as I walked past her - I felt that this was targeted at me. Later I got my soya milk out of the staff fridge. As I walked away, the same nurse said a derogatory name, again I felt that was directed at me as there was no-one else in the staff room.
I was informed by a service user that after I was talking to a staff member and walked away, the same staff member was saying negative things about me to another staff member and both were laughing. This was in a public space where service users were around - in the courtyard actually. Just because we present ourselves as ill, this doesn't mean we aren't aware when staff don't act properly. I complained to PALS who helped make sure that staff were treating me well.
My risk of suicide went up after discharge. My GP, my community consultant and my social worker advised me to complete an advance directive saying not to put me in the Becklin centre again, as I found it detrimental to my health. And when mistakes were made, I felt that the staff turned the blame on me, rather than taking responsibility their mistake.
I used to sit behind the reception desk and was a pretty good support worker when I was well, glad to revisit the trauma of being a service user and remember what it's really like.