Barbed wire and stripes by the beds. Children's psychiatrists' nightmare
- The boy confessed that his mother's partners sexually abused him, and she took the money. He initially decided to testify, but she bribed him with sweets from Biedronka - says Sara, who worked in a psychiatric hospital for children in the province. Lower Silesia.
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She is a nurse who worked for almost seven years in a children's high security psychiatric hospital. In 2017, under the pseudonym Sara Romska, she published the book "Children of Psychiatry. Stories of their life", in which she described her experiences of working with children. Although it did not mention the name of the hospital or the personal data of patients, the publication did not appeal to the director of the facility and Sara had to quit her job. At the beginning of this year. Her second book was published: "Children of Psychiatry. Further Fates". In it, the woman reveals the sad reality of young patients who have survived hell.
Marianna Fijewska, Wirtualna Polska: What is the difference between an ordinary psychiatric hospital and a high security hospital?
Sara Romska, a nurse who has been working for 7 years with underage patients suffering from mental and mental illnesses: The facility is surrounded by a high fence with barbed wire, there are bars in the windows, and patients cannot move around the building on their own. Most often, kids are referred there by the courts for self-mutilation, aggression, drugs, truancy, prostitution, and other forms of extreme demoralization.
How old was the youngest self-harming patient?
It was Natalia, she was 12 and she came from a seemingly good home, but her parents did not have time for her. They divorced. Mom took care of her life, and Dad started a new family. The child became more and more depressed, and finally the father had a daughter, whom he also named Natalia. It was too much for the little girl. She cut herself and it came to us.
See also: "Secrets of nurses". Fragment of the book by Marianna Fijewska
How do parents behave when their child is hospitalized?
Theoretically, they should be involved in the treatment process and participate in therapy with it. But such parents can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They are very rarely interested in their children. The moment the court places them in the hospital means the end of the problem for them.
How old was the youngest child involved in prostitution?
14 years. The girl did not have a father, but she had younger siblings who needed to be fed. The mother drank and took all the money she earned from the girl. The young couple cleaned houses and later found a job in a bakery. One night, when she was returning from work, one of the construction workers offered her a lift. There in the car, he said he would pay her a lot of money for sex. She agreed and so it started - she wanted to help her siblings and paid for it with her own body. Her mother knew perfectly well what her daughter was doing and she persuaded her to do so. We wanted to sue her for pimping, but this woman had constant telephone contact with her daughter. After one of these conversations, the girl cut herself again and withdrew her testimony. The mother remained unpunished.
What do children in a psychiatric hospital suffer most often from?
Since the 1990s, a new disease entity called emotional and behavioral disorders has emerged. This is not an organic mental illness, but disorders caused by stress, trauma, and experiences of extreme neglect. If the parents had time for these children, most would never have been hospitalized.
Are often the victims of sexual abuse?
Shockingly often, although the fact that they were victims of pedophile acts, it only came out late. I remember Grześ who came to us because he played truant and used drugs. He was 15, but he was afraid to sleep alone. More than once with my friends, we found him hidden under the bed. The boy did not hold the faeces. Finally a surgeon examined him and told us he was terrified that he had never seen anything like it. The boy confessed that his mother's partners sexually abused him, and she took money for it. It took years and he didn't know anything was wrong. His mother told him it was normal.
This woman was criminally liable?
We initially convinced the boy to testify. It is true that her mother came to visit very rarely, but one time she managed to convince Grześ not to talk about the whole situation. She bribed him with sweets from Biedronka. The topic has been closed.
Was this incident that shocked you the most?
This one and one more. Very similar. For six years a beautiful, nice and calm boy stayed with us. I once asked him, "What are you even doing here?" He replied only one sentence: "They drank, beaten, raped." It shocked me terribly because I did not realize what he had been through. I tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't open up. A few months after leaving the hospital, he contacted me on Facebook. He wrote that he had failed and that he was living in a homeless shelter.
You have to be extremely gentle and empathetic when talking to these children. Most of them survived hell.
Unfortunately, hospitals rarely invest in the right staff. Wages are very low and psychiatrists need a lot of paramedics. In my hospital, they were usually casual workers, farmers or "handymen". They went to hospital shifts to earn some extra money, but they had no approach to children. There were nightmarish situations in which they provoked patients.
Let me give you an example. A teenager who has been sniffing glue from an early age came to us. His brain was damaged to such an extent that he forgot or distorted basic words. Instead of ketchup it said "jejup". This amused the paramedics so much that they made him repeat the word all the time. They laughed and he couldn't stop and kept repeating, "jejup, jejup, jejup!". When they got bored of playing, the child landed in straps.
Do patients sometimes rebel?
In seven years, I experienced three revolts. Then the hospital looks like a shambles - torn cameras, broken doors, broken windows. But the police are not called because the staff will be unable to cope. The officers intervened only once, when three paramedics were hospitalized. One with a broken arm, one with a concussion, and one with extensive injuries. In other cases, manifestations of disobedience are swept under the rug.
What do you think is the biggest problem when it comes to psychiatric hospitals for children in Poland?
A lot of money is spent on transplantology or cardiology. The state boasts of its achievements in this area by investing millions in research. Psychiatry has no prestige - the authorities do not realize that most children could get out of the way if properly trained staff worked with them, if they took next-generation drugs, if they participated in continuous therapies ... but nobody cares about that, because psychiatrists are being pushed in the corner of all medicine.
See also: He was 14 years old when he wrote the letter to the curator. "I begged them to take me from my mother to an orphanage"
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