I DO NOT RECOMMEND, experience was traumatizing.
Google limits how long a review can be; the full write-up can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yI3gCAoNIvG9ndAqrJfNyyI_t-w9oFj8WvwC2Brit-M/edit?usp=sharing
Bottom Line Up Front:
Please check out some of the other 1-star reviews as they mirror my personal experience.
I didn’t do enough research before arriving.
After only 24 hours at HH, I have had to increase my meds to combat flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia from my experience.
This facility and staff are not trauma-informed.
Intake procedures were trauma-triggering.
Housing for newcomers is group housing with males and females under one roof.
I had to increase and adjust my medication just to cope with my experience here.
Staff deny patients access to phones, their own physicians, and contacting others on the outside. Specifically, HH Staff denied my request to make emergency phone calls to my psychiatrist, family, and to coordinate transportation off their premises.
Once you are admitted (even if voluntarily) you are trapped unless you are able to advocate for yourself and demand that they discharge you.
Based on my first hand experience, I do NOT recommend HH if you are suffering from PTSD or C-PTSD.
I was forgotten at the airport - the airport is 1 hour from the ranch. I tried to be forgiving but, after arriving, it was clear this place was unprofessional & disorganized. I can’t say for sure if it’s an insurance mill, but that is the distinct impression I got as I went through their intake & discharge process.
My intake & discharge were handled by Sandra/Sandy & Shannon.Both women gossiped about other employees & other patients.Neither was professional.Shannon was unkind.
Sandy forgot to have me take a pregnancy test; I offered to take it, but she chose to dip the pregnancy test inside the urine sample I had already provided right on the table we were using for intake.She then sat the pregnancy test (dripping with urine) on the table next to the open urine sample cup.This was while she was “going over” forms with me.I was grossed out & didn’t even know how to address this.I still don’t know how to describe this…at least she wore gloves?
I was made to strip in front of two women, squat, & cough twice while naked. This was traumatizing & not trauma-informed.Sandy didn’t really go over the forms with me - anytime I asked a question, it was explained away (e.g. I said I didn’t consent to being photographed, she told me I had to sign the form anyway & that they “don’t really take photographs.”).Shannon likewise did the same when I was checking out - I couldn’t have my belongings until I signed something that said I was going against medical advice.The problem being the psychiatrist told me it was my choice to discharge and he didn’t disagree with my plan.He made a recommendation that I have my own room, which the staff said “would never happen”.So I added a honest comment on the form I signed to indicate that I spoke with the Doctor about my discharge plans - but everything about checking in and checking out seemed like a major “CYA” to protect them from liability. I asked for a paper copy of all the forms, but I wasn't given one. I still have no idea what I signed.One RED FLAG was when Sandy said “You can only check yourself out against medical advice MONDAY through FRIDAY 9:00AM until 4:00PM, and now you can’t say I didn’t tell you, because I just did.” I found this to be a bizarre way to give a warning that - even against medical advice - you will be unable to have your personal belongings (including your wallet, cell phone, and anything else you brought with you) until Monday at 9AM.
This place is in the middle of nowhere. Being denied access to your personal belongings if you feel unsafe there - like I did - is terrifying and feels illegal. I voluntarily checked myself in and I was being told that even if I wanted to have my belongings, I wouldn’t be able to have them over the weekend; I’m not an expert on the law, but that seems illegal to me.
I declined to provide my social security number, because this isn’t a financial institution and is supposedly a medical facility. I got pushback from Shannon and Sandy telling me I *had* to give my SSN. I declined, and they had to get “approval” from someone else for me to bypass that step. In addition to my SSN, they also wanted a photo and access to one of my credit cards. This made the hair stand up on the back of my neck because it is not a standard practice in any other hospital-like scenario I’ve ever been in. I complied, only because I have a fraud alert and credit freeze on my SSN so nothing malicious could be done with my credit.
The intake process took 5+ hours. I was denied access to the meds I needed in a timely fashion because “they needed approval.” Mind you, I provided my own medications, I was managing my medications on my own before arriving, and they had just collected my own medications - yet I had to wait 2 hours before I was given it. By that time, my symptoms were worse and I was dealing with increased paranoia and suicidal ideations.
Every morning at medication time, patients race to fill out a 3 or 4-page document, which is the only way they’re allowed to receive their medication. It was a bizarre experience - patients rushing to complete forms first just so they could get their medications in a reasonable amount of time. The staff was rude to new patients and didn’t even explain the process. I only knew the process because one of the other patients there was nice enough to let me know what the mad rush was all about. I was dumbfounded that medicine was being handled on a reward system and didn’t seem to be taken seriously by the staff. My own experience has been that the people struggling the most (to get out of bed, to complete paperwork, etc.) are likely the ones needing their medication the soonest - yet you have 40 people racing to complete paperwork so they can “prioritize” medication as if it’s a prize to be won. I’m all for positive reinforcement, but not for medications that are medically necessary.
The kitchen worker complained for every meal I was there that there wasn’t enough room to go around. The last lunch I had there, she said she only made enough food for 33 people but there were 40 people to feed. She was rationing out portions of food while complaining there wasn’t enough to go around. There is a coffee/mocha/latte machine but no decaffeinated coffee was available.
There was no gym, but there was a gymnasium with a basketball hoop. There was a pool that appeared well-maintained. There are no on-site equestrian activities, but the neighbors adjacent to the facility do have horses you could pet through the fence. And a donkey.
Housing: Roommates are same-sex, but women and men are still housed under the same roof without the ability to close or lock a door for personal safety. Patients were disallowed access to their bedroom between 9am & 7pm; meaning you had to carry any belongings (books, bathing suit, etc.) with you throughout the day. There was an exorbitant amount of free time in an environment that claims to be structured.
Classes: I only attended one class, but it consisted of everybody going around the room saying their name, one goal for the day, and whether or not they’re “spiritual” - I only attended one class, but I will say there wasn’t really much discussion or learning except going around the room for 40 minutes saying our names and belief systems. One male staff member ran around the room touching people; I didn’t see him before he touched me and he touched me without my permission and before I could stop him. For someone with C-PTSD, unwanted and unwelcome contact is a trigger.
I felt unsafe being in co-ed housing and not having access to my emergency contacts in what, for me, was an emergency. On my second day I asked to make an emergency safety call to my own Psychiatrist; Shannon and Sandy denied this. I then asked to make an emergency safety call to my family; Shannon and Sandy denied this. I asked THEM (Harmony Hills Staff) to contact my emergency contacts ON MY BEHALF so they knew I was discharging - Sandy denied this. I felt trapped and kidnapped and “played nice” just so I could have my belongings and begin planning my escape; I mean, departure. Please note, I notified them at 9am I was discharging, I was denied access to my own phone until after 2PM. Shannon told me, “Technically I have to kick you off the premises, but you can stay on the porch until you get a ride.” Mind you, I wasn’t given any opportunity to make a phone call for 5 hours after notifying the staff of my intent to discharge, which left me with no ability to plan how I would leave. The ranch really is in the middle of nowhere, there was no Uber available for over an hour (think about staying outside in FL summer temperature) - I ended up using Google to find a taxi company that could come take me to the airport. What if I hadn’t had cell service? What if my phone wasn’t charged? I was left outside in the middle of nowhere to figure out transportation on my own. I spent my own money on airfare and hotel expenses to be treated like a criminal by a place that was supposed to help my mental health. It made it worse. I am still trying to recover from my experience there.
In addition to all the above, the Staff spends all their time gossiping about other staff and patients, and smoking cigarettes with patients. Please do your research before you go. This place caused more harm than good for me and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone suffering from PTSD.