Survey reveals ‘unpleasant’ state of mental health wards

A survey by mental health charity Mind has found that 56 per cent of people who had recently stayed on a mental health ward rated the ward as unpleasant or very unpleasant.

The charity also found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the ward’s state of repair, with 28 per cent unhappy about levels of cleanliness.

The survey, which was part of a report (Building solutions: improving mental healthcare environments) into the impact of the environment on our mental health, backs up last year’s Healthcare Commission report, which found that standards of cleanliness were markedly poorer in mental health hospitals than in acute units. The average stay in hospital for a mental health inpatient is 58 days – nearly 12 times longer than patients with a physical illness.

As a matter of urgency, Mind has called for mental health wards to be turned into more therapeutic environments which focus on aiding recovery.

The charity made the following key recommendations:

• Service-users should be involved in the design of new hospitals
• Wards should be maintained to the highest levels of cleanliness
• All patients should have access to green spaces
• All sleeping accommodation must be single-sex
• Urgent action must be taken to address levels of violence on wards
• Wards and their facilities need to be pleasant and stimulating, with a good range of activities.

To read the report, go to: