In a world where personal safety and security is critical for a successful recovery, it is in fact the least considered element in the mental health care sector.
Utter shock is the first reaction from the general public when they learn that wards in hospitals are mixed sex- especially when they realise that girls and women of all ages are admitted into these wards with a wide range of complete strangers.
But it is the innocent young daughters, the exhausted middle aged mothers, the vulnerable elderly grandmothers
and the females of all cultures and religions that have been previously traumatised
that are truly horrified when they are admitted into hospital for their mental health care
and instead are left, completely exposed to men of all ages, ailments, illnesses, alcohol and
drug induced psychosis and intoxications with virtually no support,
usually no choice and
absolutely no privacy whatsoever.
Graphic stories of the rape and sexual abuse of female psychiatric patients have shocked Victorians,
but it’s all terribly familiar to Sue.
“Genetically radical” and with her own lived experience of mental illness,
Sue has been campaigning for fundamental changes in the treatment of women’s mental health
for over two decades.
Watch IMPATIENT! here
IS A STORY OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS, OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RIGHTS OF OUR MOST FRAGILE- PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
To learn more,
or to support the campaign in any way you can, please go to
For this could be you,
or your daughter, mother, wife, sister, aunt,
grandmother, friend and colleague.
Made with spirit and humour, Impatient! is a longitudinal cinema verite documentary that follows award winning fine artist, filmmaker, female peer advocate, mental health consumer and advocate, Sue Armstrong over a 10 year period, as she pounds the pavement, knocks on doors and meets with Lawyers, Professors, lunches with Mental health care consumers and picnics with sector professionals and uses her genetically radical talents to present us with a unique, insider’s perspective on the psychiatric system, raising critical questions about its ability to safely and respectfully treat women at their most vulnerable.
With her own lived experience of mental illness, Sue calls herself the IMPATIENT inpatient,
as she has been campaigning for fundamental changes in the treatment of women’s mental health
for over three decades to educate those on the outside,
while campaigning for those vulnerable women and girls on the inside to have access to a safe and secure environment whilst enduring
the most traumatic experiences of their lives.
The second teaser for IMPATIENT! the documentary
A truly eye-opening journey into the mental health care sector,
hearing the stories about the repeated
trauma and re-admissions
that so many of these young girls and women of all ages,
cultures, religions and gender identity go through is incredibly distressing in itself.
That’s if they actually make it that far and
don’t become a name on another death certificate instead.
There is such an extraordinary amount of evidence
and such a wide variety of perspectives about the reasons why
wards in hospitals should not be mixed sex,
which has bought up even more questions along the way about just how
the medical professionals make the decisions that they do
and it can only be called a horror show.
However the biggest injustice is the fact that in the 5 decades following,
the successive policy makers commissioned report after report
and despite each report containing an increasing number of cases of rape,
sexual assault, bullying, sexual and religious discrimination among the many atrocities perpetrated
by both staff and other inpatients,
the policy makers continued to allow this behaviour to persist well on into the 21st century,
making it even worse by combining the inpatients in the wards- t
hose with traditional mental health illnesses with
those much younger and physically stronger people intoxicated by alcohol and suffering psychosis
from other drugs- two extremely different groups of troubled people
being treated the same and having to live with each other in a strange environment.
The first teaser for IMPATIENT! the documentary
A lot has been achieved over the years, but women continue to be unsafe.
Sue’s main goal is to see the re-establishment of female-only psychiatric wards,
where women and girls may choose to be treated.
As simple and as logical as Sue’s proposition sounds,
there are significant obstacles to overcome – financial, political and practical.
Sue tilts at her campaign in her own way.
A trained fine artist, video producer and figurehead in the outsider artist movement,
Sue brings her intelligence, humour and creativity to her efforts.
In Impatient!, in between making zombie movies and posing in penguin costume,
Sue takes us inside the mental health consumer advocacy movement,
reveals the history of women’s treatment, introduces us to the psychiatric profession,
and leads us into the political realm,
where the crucial decisions about the safety of vulnerable women must be made – and made soon.
With a glimmer of political will emerging from the current state government, Sue and her colleagues must seize the moment to push through the most significant reforms for women’s mental health since the 1960s. Without real, systemic change, Sue fears that yet another generation of women will be subjected to sexual abuse and harassment whilst in psychiatric care – and she knows too well the consequences.
Impatient presents a unique, insider’s perspective on the psychiatric system and raises critical questions about its ability to safely and respectfully treat women at their most vulnerable. The film is made by a female-only crew, with an emphasis on the dignity of mental health consumers, but also with spirit and humour. Sue’s experience, commitment and considerable charm make her a compelling and authoritative guide to a complex issue that demands our immediate attention.
SUE WITH JULIE DEMPSEY & SANDY JEFFS
SUE AT SMVCA
DOMINIC AND PETE-VMIAC
JULIET REIDL-DOUTTA GALLA
The Spirit of Moonee Valley Community Awards, with Sue Armstrong as winner of the OUTSTANDING