‘Looney bin’ note sparks upset for staff at mental health hospital

The post by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and comments left about the note.
The post by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and comments left about the note.

A takeaway has come under fire after referring to a mental health hospital as a “looney bin.”

Staff at one of the units run by the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust noticed the comment on the delivery note after their food arrived for their evening meal.

The note from the takeaway.

The note from the takeaway.

A photo of the receipt was posted on its Facebook page, as it highlighted the prejudice its hospitals and centres are fighting to address, adding: “Still a long way to go to end mental health stigma”, alongside a frown emoticon.

The trust, which is the North East’s mental health and disability care provider, runs sites in Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Its bosses have said its members of staff were “greatly distressed” the written delivery instructions included the phrase.

It says its staff and patients are often faced with stigma, but were particularly horrified to see it articulated on a takeaway delivery slip.

Despite great efforts over recent years, mental ill health is still surrounded by prejudice, ignorance and fear.

Will Green, head of communications

As an interim measure it has removed the takeaway from its list of approved suppliers and will not be ordering food from them again until this matter is resolved.

It has written a letter of complaint and is awaiting a reply, but has not identified the company and has urged people not to name it if they know.

Will Green, head of communications at the trust, said: “Despite great efforts over recent years, mental ill health is still surrounded by prejudice, ignorance and fear.

“We are very disappointed that staff at one of our sites received this note with an order and we have written to the takeaway to find out how it happened and ask for an explanation.

Will Green, head of communications at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Will Green, head of communications at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

“With one in four people experiencing some form of mental health issue in their lifetime, it is important that organisations such as ours support efforts to reduce stigma and challenge examples of stigma wherever we find them.”

The post has led to a host of comments hitting out at whoever wrote the note.

Lynne Thompson-Hogg said: “Sadly ignorance still exists and I’ve no doubt that the staff member who wrote this thought they were being ‘funny’ and ‘having a laugh’.

“Mental health however is not funny and as someone who lives with a husband who has periods of depression and anxiety I can confirm its not funny.”

Maria Wilson said: “That is disgusting.

“So easy for words to fall out of people’s mouths that affect people deep down.

“I work for this trust but also have a mother who uses mental health services and as that daughter, I am furious someone has wrote that down.

“How dare they. Education is lacking for some people and ignorance is high.”

Anne Sawkill added: “Absolutely shocking, some people have no idea and still live in the dark ages, time they were educated.”

Paul Duffy said: “It would be a shame if a decent company is judged on the actions of an ignorant individual.”

The trust is in charge of sites including Hopewood Park and Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland, Rose Lodge in Hebburn, Northgate Hospital and St George’s Hospital in Morpeth, Walkergate Park Centre For Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry in Newcastle and Ferndene in Prudoe.