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Report transcript in: Oral Histories of Mental Health in South West Yorkshire
Please Report the Errrors?
it's great to come full circle because I'm back here at the Mental Health Museum,
which is in Field Head Hospital
and where I have actually been a patient.
And to come here
and do something positive and the sun shining, it just feels really good
and that, you know,
the corridor does still look clinical inside.
But then the Mental Health Museum and this kind of
sanctuary in the middle is full of greenery and space,
and so that feels really positive.
Actually, when you're going down and becoming a bit more
a bit more lazy and lethargic, then,
it's It's those times that I need to step in with my own interventions.
And those interventions are really quite simple. It's nothing to do with
possessions or buying things or anything like that. It's to do with
one of the things is walking, hiking, and I can
do some great hikes over
lockdown. And what have you. I've been
regularly doing 20 and 30 miles in a
day through the mountains and feeling fantastic.
Mental health can be good.
It can be positive, Um, but also, when you go through tricky times,
it can also not be so good.
So, um you know, I mean, when I was a teenager, I had quite a lot of anxiety.
just with I think hormones and pressures of things and things that now
seem quite insignificant but at the time seemed a really big thing.
Um, but I My dad was very influential on on helping me through that.
just being able to get a positive outlook on
life and being able to put things into perspective
and a big thing that I would say about mental
health is concentrate on the things that you personally can't control
and the things that you can't control.
Don't worry too much about it, because in the end it tends to work out.
OK, so I think recovery is an ongoing healing journey.
but it is optimistic. It's not.
I never say I'll be recovered. I just say
that I'm now hopeful for the future and that everyone has hope.
I enjoyed my
job and it's good
my granddaughter works up
I, um, for a time worked at Store
Hall Hospital. Well was based at
hospital working for
Health. Huddersfield Health Authority.
It was 19th, the summer of the lovely summer of 1988
when I was there, um,
and I was employed as a gardener in terms of, um, my job
there. We would have a rota of these places to go to and do
some gardening work for so we we'd go out to different
to do some some gardening. So that would usually take
a day or a half day
of of that. Um, but we did do some work on site, As I said, Um,
so I remember, uh, mowing the bowling green,
um, football pitches and cricket pitches.
Um, all sorts. Really
No, enough staff there, enough stuff.
And then you can get out
the products you wanted
Where did you work?
There were no women there at first. But then they said to
ST Mary up, and then I went after
the male staff. We started doing that
I can't remember
And then, uh,
I work at
and that were all men and Children.
And there were no staff.
What was that, like
one of them
You know, I was
Beach. I I
didn't like working on that on
was still waiting
for them coming
He set it off. I mean, you
probably believe this, but
and all of a sudden you were down
and put steps when you got up
they were down
Yeah. I've just seen in the museum that the
there was an artisan yard in the old, um, Stanley Royd.
And apparently it goes back
to the 18 hundreds. At least that there was an artist and yard, which is
in the display. It says that
there was That's where the workshops were
for the woodwork. Um, mechanics,
within the hospital. And they're always down one yard.
Well, the hospital I worked in,
um, which was designed in the 1935 and opened in 37
had exactly the same.
what had been the boot maker shop?
Which is where my bench was, because when I went there in 74 the boot maker had moved.
He was no longer there,
but we still had his equipment
in my workshop. So you had, um
if you ever went to Timpson.
So you have that big row of, uh, machines that grind and polish.
That machine was still in the workshop, um,
as well as things for cutting out heels and the soles and all that heavy duty work.
Those bits of machinery was still about,
So my bench
was, um, had been part of the that shop.
there had been the upholster,
but he had then moved to a bigger workshop. Um and so he was working there until,
and they would repair and recover all the hospital
So do all that kind of stuff. Did that include padded cells?
We never had a padded cell.
That's one of the things that Runwell kind of prided itself on
was that it had never had a padded cell
do things. There's there's a hands on
There's a bad hotel.
I mean, I went into that
and even though the door wasn't shut,
I to come straight back out because I well,
I really got claustrophobic, and I thought How can anybody be put in there
for the length of time and not feel
I mean, some of the instruments that's on display are around about.
I'm thinking, I'm glad I went to
when? When they have to be used like water boots and
and stuff like that. The straight jackets,
you know, you look
but yeah, it's been it I like I like
a It's been an inspiring
journey and one that I'm glad
I've made and I have had the opportunity
to make. And I would advise anybody
to come and just have a look at the mental Health Museum.
What was it like
doing the seclusion rooms?
Um, well, I mean, the doors are like we we to For the start,
you have to have lifters for the doors and a couple of
people to lift them out with you and wheel them out.
these used to break these used to break on
on the weak points where the bolts went into the
into the door frames and everything.
but apart from that, that's about what we did like, you know,
um, and and and And most of this in general, like every every door's got a lock on it.
So we used to look after all the locks, suites.
They had lots of different lock suites,
which you have to get the head your head round because you've got Yeah.
I mean, from one door,
you'll have a you'll have a master key that will open every door in a ward.
But each door is individual, so they have a what you call a servant key.
So the the, um, the
the user can just have their own key to get into that door.
But it's then you've got a subs suite on top of that.
So you you might partition that that unit off into, like,
three different subs suites.
But a master key will override everything you know.
So you can have a patient with a key to open his own bedroom door.
And in that area it'll have a substrate that
that the member is tapped to override that key.
in all the system, if you have a master, a master suite,
then you a master key that will override all the subs, suites and the servant suites
so that one key would fit everything in that in that unit, you know,
So you've got to have all this in mind when you when you be pressing locks.
So we have to have stocks of different types of locks,
different barrels, different sweet sweets, different subs, suites
because they all came with a servant key.
But you have a sub master key on top of that and a master key that
So it's quite complicated really, to get your head around.
But once you've got it, you know, it's it's there for life.
We sometimes would have, um, lunch on the site
in the in the
cafeteria come restaurant.
And we would we would meet,
service users there.
it wasn't a bustling place like I imagined it
would have been when it was fully occupied.
Um, because it had thousands of
which it would explain why it had lots of sports facilities. It had something like
four football pitches, two tennis courts,
um, at least one cricket pitch, a bowling green.
It had loads of different,
um, sports facilities,
um, and and walks and stuff you could do around the grounds,
But then it's also good, like looking in the museum,
reflecting back on the asylum systems locally because
once you're kind of into mental health, you really get into it, um,
as a kind of patient,
even though I don't like that word and someone who now works in it,
Um, and seeing how the treatment has changed over the years,
but also the similarities that we still face today.
Like there's some beautiful stitching from people at the asylum in the museum.
and I've spoken to people who were saying how much better it was
in the asylum than it was out in society at the time.
Um, so I think
again, we might be shocked at, like the padded cell inside.
But at the same time,
I'm still on loads of medication and there's a certain part of that, but
I feel like a bit like a padded cell today.
You know, if I think of my my mental health as being like a spiral,
there are times when I can do things
that help that spiral go up and up and up, and so I'm getting happier and
but equally there are things that I can do that the spiral will
go the opposite way around and go down and down and down.
I first started noticing I had problems with mental health when I
was really quite young when I was about 10 or 11.
I was certainly suicidal by the age of 12.
but I didn't start telling anybody about my problems until my late thirties,
when they they really felt
for me, is I I buried things for a very, very long time.
and there was a lot of stigma
about mental health issues, and I was sort of working,
you know, professional job. And,
you know, like, normal life. Um,
but everything just disintegrate the relationship break up, and I stuff that
professional help at that point.
when I told people I at work and things
are still working that was suffering from depression,
nobody believed me
cos you get so good at covering it up.
So I've really started coming into services in my late thirties.
I'm now in my mid fifties.
I suffer from a mental health care from
a 10 to 11 year old,
and I didn't feel that I have any support until, uh, are we 18 going into a hospital,
a off with, uh, mental health help. But I didn't get any support
or any help due to, uh
through me being deaf. And it would be nice if if they did have any
deaf community with people with deaf people have mental health problems as well.
I feel that I didn't have any
help of anything
after the park
and there were no sign sign language there available.
I was struggling to hear what they were saying,
and I just felt a bit
I ended up
going and see a private psychiatrist in,
and they put me on, uh,
Stelazine. Or it was a tablet something.
And my mom, my mom gave me a packet of cigarettes and said, Do you wanna have a fag?
I said, Yeah, I take this tablet. So I took the tablet
took them for about three or four days and then,
came off the tablets,
started getting poorly again
and decided in my wisdom to attack my mother.
So I went upstairs and
got a knife and tried to attack her.
I couldn't get into the door cause she locked up inside the door.
So I went back downstairs,
managed to get a hammer
and said, Right, I'll take out on the car. So I smashed the car a bit.
So the next thing I remember was being on the ward sectioned,
and that's where it all sort of. And then I started again. And then I started again
and very confusing time where it's I blacked out a lot,
but I I remember coming round on the wall, basically feeling better on the wall.
You know what I mean?
I've had two or three episodes since,
I about paranoia.
A bout of anxiety.
but this has all been going on for 20 odd years.
I've been in the system 20 odd years now, so it's been going on quite a long time,
and I've been with
mental health services for 20 odd years. You know, I've
been working in the mental health thing for about 20 odd years.
but luckily, touch wood. I'm quite stable. Um, I'm doing OK, so
and my partner is very helpful. She helps
Have the mental health services been of benefit or detriment in your experience.
I believe that there's been,
a mixture of benefits and detriments within our mental health
professional services that have helped me through my experience.
I do feel that
those that had more experience in
the settings that they were working in and
probably lived experience as well were able to,
um, people bringing artists on
different elements of who I am in order to come to the best diagnosis and therefore
able to aid me with the best, um, support.