An extraordinary account of a nurse’s life behind the locked doors of a secure psychiatric ward.
Dennis O’Donnell started work as an orderly in the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit of a large hospital in Scotland in 2000. In his daily life he encountered fear, violence and despair but also a considerable amount of care and compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of his colleagues on the ward, he examines major mental health conditions, methods of treatment – medication, how religion, sex, wealth, health and drugs can bear influence on mental health, the prevailing attitudes to psychiatric illness, the authorities, the professionals & society.
What emerges is a document of humanity and humour, a remarkable memoir that sheds light on a world that still remains largely unknown.
‘This is a superb study of people whose minds have gone wrong, and the art of caring for them’ Evening Standard
Crammed full of vivid anecdotes and careful observations that run from terrifying to laugh-out-loud to exquisitely painful...a valuable contribution to the literature of madness
Observant, modest, lightly erudite and heavily self-deprecating...an informative read.
His tone is just right - perfect for the subject matter. He's like a very good documentary maker; he knows exactly where to point the camera
We come away with a better understanding of life on a locked ward, and the book should contribute to a more open discussion of mental illness and suicide