Time travel: Minnesota’s mental health treatment facility

When you read the first two paragraphs in today’s Star Tribune story about the way Minnesota treated mentally ill patients in St. Peter, you may have to struggle to remember that this is the 21st century.


Two mentally ill patients at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter were repeatedly abused by staff members — including, for one patient, being forced to sleep on a concrete slab for 25 nights — according to a yearlong investigation by the state Human Services Department.

The abuse, which included isolating the two for extended periods and wrapping their faces in mesh rags, took place in late 2010 and led to a much wider investigation. That examination found evidence that staffers covered up abuses and repeatedly violated isolation and restraint policies.

None of the employees implicated in the abuse has been fired and all continue to work at the hospital, the paper said.

  • Marissa
  • Marissa

    And yes, it has a reputation for being poorly managed.

    I don’t know the relationship between the poor management, poor treatment and assaults against staff is, but the situation out there is depressing.

    Staff are assaulted, patients abusive, and apparently staff do not know how to handle the patients humanely in response to poor behavior. It sounds like the institution needs an overhaul, and they have not yet found the right leader.

  • Amy

    I read this article and you know, didn’t think too much about it as it isn’t news to me. Because of a recent stroke in the family, I’ve come to know that the medical system is entirely broken; it’s not just the mentally ill, it’s the physically ill at our hospitals as well. At least in a mental hospital like St. Peter’s, the word “criminal” is associated with it. I don’t know what else to call leaving someone alone all day who can’t go to the bathroom without help, yet who can’t call for help because of a brain injury, other than criminal. Yet it happens routinely, every day in hospitals all across our state. The more horror stories I have, the more I hear. The entire system needs an overhaul, both mental and physical, as it is obvious this kind of treatment is both accepted and acceptable to the people instituting it. I dare say it is criminal and almost amounts to extortion when the care you provide as an unskilled family member is better than the professional care you are paying for.