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BACKGROUND: Long stay in forensic psychiatric hospitals is common in patients who are defined as "not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder". However, little is known about how these patients experience and perceive the long stay within these settings. The aim of this study is to explore the perception and needs of long-stay patients in forensic psychiatric hospitals in China. METHODS: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 participants who had lived in the forensic psychiatry hospital for more than 8 years. We used thematic analysis strategies to analyse the qualitative data. RESULTS: Participants' perceptions clustered seven themes: hopelessness, loneliness, worthlessness, low mood, sleep disturbances, lack of freedom, and lack of mental health intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The views and opinions expressed by long-stay patients showed that psychological distress is prevailing in forensic psychiatric hospitals. Adequate and effective care and mental health interventions are recommended to be tailored for their special needs.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Crime, Forensic, Long-stay, Psychiatric, Qualitative