Mother of former patient at Southwood Psychiatric Hospital speaks out after staff member charged

NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — After seeing Channel 11′s story Wednesday about Southwood Psychiatric Hospital staff member Tamika Jones being criminally charged for allegedly kicking a young patient in the head, a mother of a former patient reached out to Channel 11.

“Something has to be done about it,” she said.

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The mother wanted to remain anonymous.

She said her son received inpatient care at Southwood in North Strabane Township, Washington County, for about a month and a half earlier this year before she decided to pull him out for his own safety.

“No child should be abused in any type of manner,” the mother said.

She alleges her son was bitten multiple times by a fellow patient and says staff didn’t notify her for weeks.

“Bruises up and down his body, and bite marks,” she described. “[They were] covering his arms. There were marks on his inner thigh that nobody had even checked.”

Channel 11 spoke to two former Southwood employees who said many of the issues at the facility could be prevented by additional staffing and improved training.

These former employees — wishing to remain anonymous for fear of retribution — say the 54-bed facility often had more than 60 kids in its care — with one staff member caring for a dozen or more kids — when that ratio should be closer to 6:1.

The former employees allege they observed several instances of abuse, including what they describe as a child covered in feces and left to lay in it and a child allegedly restrained with tape wrapped around his hands and stomach.

One of these former employees told Channel 11 they submitted more than a dozen Childline reports to the state about the Southwood facility in three years, saying, “I can’t believe that place is still open...They treat their patients and staff like crap.”

Channel 11 reached out to Southwood about these allegations.

CEO Kim Lira provided a statement saying, “To respect the privacy of all parties involved, we do not publicly discuss patient or employee matters.”

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