​​​MHCAN of Santa Cruz

Mental Health Client Action Network

1051 Cayuga 831-469-0462

The Only Mental Health Peer-Run Organization

in Santa Cruz, CA

Ward Life: Long Term Wards
by Mael Dinnell

A spoonful of coffee for a dollar
cadging cigarettes
institutional food
and waiting
waiting for meds
waiting for doctors
waiting for smoke breaks
for bedtime
for forced groups
most of all
waiting waiting waiting for
a visit from the outside for
​who never comes

One day Mael came by, gave everyone gifts, said she was cleaning out her stuff.  The next day she had an overdose the coroner ruled accidental.

Mael Anne Dinnell

Mael Dinnell's daughter was murdered and her husband committed suicide.  She set herself on fire and survived.

She worked the reception desk and was on morphine for the pain of being a burn survivor, which meant she frequently nodded off.  She was a writer, a poet, had a radio show and was a fierce advocate for those incarcerated against their will in mental institutions.  She was raised in foster care, raped as a child and was a fierce advocate for people who were molested as children.