Brave, raw and sometimes funny, for the first time Australian television viewers go inside the locked wards of one of the country’s busiest Mental Health Units.
200 years ago Australia’s first psychiatric hospital was founded. Castle Hill Lunatic Asylum was seven miles outside Parramatta. Two centuries later, huge strides have been made in treating people with a mental illness and in the way they are cared for. Yet, until now, what actually happens inside a modern mental health unit in Australia has rarely, if ever, been seen. As a result, fear, stigma and lack of understanding exists.
Changing Minds: The Inside Story has been given unprecedented access to the wards of Liverpool Hospital’s Mental Health Unit. Some patients are there voluntarily. Others have been detained under the Mental Health Act and are not free to leave. Some patients understand they are unwell – others don’t. If doctors believe they may harm themselves or others, they have the right to detain them.
From electro convulsive therapy, to modern psychiatric drug regimes, access has been unprecedented. Patients who are treated in Liverpool’s Mental Health Unit are, by definition, unwell, and may be a danger to themselves and others. But with treatment, comes change.
By following the daily work of Clinical Director of Psychiatry Dr Mark Cross and his team, taboos are challenged, stigmas are confronted. It’s sometimes raw and uncomfortable viewing, but the message is clear – help is available. Nurse Ratchett is as much a part of history as Castle Hill Lunatic Asylum.