Gendered experiences of locked wards

Fish, Rebecca orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1933-1769 (2021) Gendered experiences of locked wards. In: Critical perspectives on the lived experience of distress and mental health services, 15 November, University College, Cork.

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This presentation describes the experiences of women who were detained in a secure mental health unit for people described as having learning disabilities and/or autism. I spent nine months ‘hanging out’ (doing ethnographic research) on three wards in the unit, and then I interviewed the women who lived on the unit and some of the staff about their experiences and perspectives. Using a Feminist Disability Studies lens, I explored how women came to be at the unit and their experiences of day-to-day life as played out through
relationships with others. I will present the women’s own accounts of service responses such as physical restraint and seclusion, as well as staff’s perspectives on why they continue to be used, including their interpretations of the BPD diagnosis. Finally, I will talk about recent developments in service legislation for women detained in these wards and whether anything has changed

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