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"Anita gets Admitted" on tv

Kerome

Kerome

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There is a short documentary series showing on dutch tv, called "Anita gets Admitted", where a relatively well known documentary film maker gets admitted to two institutions in the Netherlands, one an open ward in Hilversum and the other a closed ward in Almere. It's on at 22.00 on npo1. She does various interviews with the staff and patients about their conditions, and follows them in their therapy and activities.

It's very compassionate, and informative. They show a number of people with different conditions, such as borderline, bipolar or schizoaffective, and also people with more complex dual diagnoses. They talk about things like psychosis, but also ask about people's stories, how they ended up there.

Worth watching if you've been on the edges of the system, but have never been admitted voluntarily or otherwise.
 
Kerome

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The second part is this coming Monday, I believe.
 
SomersetScorpio

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It sounds really interesting, i've googled it but come up with no results, then wondered if it's because i'm typing it in English.
Anyway, I hope in the next few weeks or so I can find it and it has English subtitles.
 
Kerome

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Yes it is in Dutch and I've transliterated the title, in Dutch it's actually called "Anita word opgenomen".
 
Kerome

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Just watched the second part, and they're not really pulling their punches. There was a bit about the isolation cells they use, the circumstances they use them for, and the basics of aspects of safety / control versus therapy and recovery. So that might have been a bit confrontational for some people. They showed a gym, garden, communal cooking once a week, various other things.

But it was largely upbeat. They showed people successfully managing their conditions by being admitted voluntarily when warning signs were indicating they were vulnerable to another episode. When asked how they were doing, most said they were making progress. There were some bits of art therapy and visitors hours being shown.
 
Kerome

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Seems the programme is quite popular, it's on the front page of Uitzending Gemist, our equivalent of BBC iPlayer.
 
Kerome

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The presenter, Anita Witzier, is doing quite a lot of talk shows on Dutch TV, she was on De Wereld Draait Door and this morning I caught a bit of an interview on Tijd voor Max. It's leading to some interesting discussions about Dutch books on mental health, also covering areas of how creativity and things like holy people with visions from centuries past fit into the current picture of mental health.
 
Kerome

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Saw the third episode, it was not as strong as the previous two. More of the same really. Following the lives of various patients around the wards, one of which is in a larger hospital and the other is in a separate purpose built building.

Some highlights, Anita confronted one patient who had stayed for two months with video footage made at the start of her stay, and there was an interesting but short discussion of her behaviour and how her "psychotic self" took cues from real life experiences. There was another piece following an escape artist patient, who kept running away by for example climbing over the fences in the garden.

It kept the upbeat tone of previous installments, but it showed people falling back on occasion as well, alongside one patient who was much improved after two months inside. Also it wasn't all roses, they also showed a delusional patient who was making a nuisance of himself and so got put in isolation, clearly more social control for reasons not much more than a bit of discussion about "satanic Mafia" at tones slightly above normal speech. It doesn't take much, does it.
 
Kerome

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Saw the fourth episode, it continued on a similar path. It followed a few of the inpatients from previous weeks, covered people leaving and new people arriving, often with new quirks and in psychosis. It also covered things like sex on the ward (not allowed, but sneakily done), creative therapy, baking cupcakes and musical therapy. The patients are very much centre stage, and it's shot from the viewpoint of the presenter as a pseudo patient, the staff only pop up occasionally.

I think what I miss is some kind of following of 1-to-1 therapy, or talking therapy. That almost doesn't seem to exist, everything I've seen focuses on various group activities supporting label & drug, with one psychiatrist covering the entire ward and the rest of the staff being psychiatric nurses.

There was a visit to a ward of elderly psychiatric patients as well, which here in Holland is held as a separate area of care because the elderly have slightly different needs. This was also a mostly temporary stay affair, until these 65-plus people recovered more of their mental capacities.
 
Kerome

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Saw the fifth episode, this talked in a bit more depth about the kinds of childhood backgrounds some people on the wards have, things like abandoned by parents into the orphanage system at age 5/8 when the mother became psychotic and the father left. Or someone who took drugs and became a criminal, getting sent to juvie for three armed robberies. It showed some emotional scenes between brothers visiting eachother on the ward, both having had problems with psychosis.

There was a bit more detail on how various conditions affected people as well, schizoaffective vs schizophrenic vs bipolar vs post traumatic stress, and things like dissociation, triggers. There was a bit about creativity, how people with mental health issues tend to be very creative.

There was also some material about privileges for getting out and how that's handled. Going to the shops accompanied by a member of staff, and how people cope with the experience of going to say a supermarket while suffering from a psychosis and being a lot less capable than normal. Various other small pieces like how a woodcrafting workshop functions on the ward, Christmas on the ward.
 
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Kerome

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Saw the sixth episode, which was mostly wrapping up and saying goodbye, a little bit about physical therapy, a little retrospective on how various patients were now doing. At the end of three months stay, most of the patients had moved on. The personal stories were a mixture of upbeat and chronic cases who could expect repeat visits.

On the whole I thought the series was a fair, positive reflection of what life is like for many on the psychiatric wards. It didn't follow any really severe cases of psychosis where restraints and isolation were used, but it at least showed those elements. So there was a bit of an attempt to make it more palatable for the public. They certainly covered it in a lot of depth, it was longer than I thought it was going to be when I started watching.
 
Kerome

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They've made a second series, it starts tomorrow evening and it seems to be focussed around substance abuse problems.
 
Kerome

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Saw episode one of the new series, it's mostly the same scenario, the presenter Anita gets admitted to a clinic where some people have agreed to be followed, and she stays with them and talks to them about how they ended up there, the different routes their lives took, what they do at the clinic, how they feel.

There is some overlap with the more psychiatry-focussed first series, because a number of these people also have drug-induced psychosis or other problems for which they take psychiatric medication. There are some stories about a guy who started to hear voices while on cocaine, and then he started seeing devils and getting delusions, for example.
 
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