Psychiatric Hospital FAQs
What is a Psychiatric Hospital?
A psychiatric hospital, also known as mental health or behavioral health units, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Examples of serious mental disorders include: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, PTSD and more. Many people who experience mental health disorders do not need to seek care from a psychiatric hospital. Often, these disorders can be managed through outpatient therapy and counseling services and medication.
Should I Admit Myself to a Psychiatric Hospital?
Should you admit yourself to a psychiatric hospital? This is a question only you and a mental health provider can answer. However, there are a few warning signs that indicate a psychiatric hospital might be the best choice for you at this moment. These signs include, but are not limited to:
- Thoughts or feelings of intent to harm yourself
- Thoughts or feelings of intent to harm others
- Inability to get mood swings under control
The best thing you can do is to call your local mental health hospital and ask to be assessed. They will work with you to help define the safest path forward for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your loved ones.
How to get into a Psychiatric Hospital?
Individuals entering a psychiatric facility can do so two ways: voluntarily or involuntarily. Individuals entering the psychiatric facility voluntarily have chosen to seek treatment. If you think you may need to go to a psychiatric hospital, simply call your local mental health hospital and ask to be assessed. A treatment team member will help assess your current symptoms and make a recommendation to either admit you or seek alternative treatment. Occasionally, individuals experiencing extreme mental disorders may not recognize their need to go to a psychiatric hospital. For their safety and the safety of the community, law enforcement or health officials may request the individual is involuntarily committed to a hospital for treatment.
How long can a Psychiatric Hospital hold a Person?
Having a loved one in the psychiatric hospital can be a very stressful experience. It is important to remember that police and medical providers only commit patients against their will during extreme cases, with the best interest of the patient in mind.
While laws regarding involuntary commitment vary by state, here are some general guidelines:
- 72 Hour Hold: In most states, involuntary commitments cannot extend beyond 72 hours without a formal hearing. At this point, a patient can choose to continue inpatient or outpatient care. If a patient refuses treatment, the medical professional must decide whether to release the patient or request a hearing to persuade a judge that the patient needs more help to prevent self-harm or harm to others.
- Laws Vary by State: Be sure to research the individual laws in your state. Some states allow for 14-30 day involuntary holds.
How to get Someone out of a Psychiatric Hospital?
The best thing you can do for your loved one in a psychiatric hospital is to work with and listen to the advice of police and medical providers. These professionals are making recommendations based on the safety of your loved one. If they recommend your loved one needs to remain in the hospital they are doing it for the safety or your loved one and the safety of the community.
Can you get sent to a Psychiatric Hospital for Cutting?
Criteria for admission to a psychiatric hospital is judged on a case-by-case basis. Often, cutting and the issues surrounding it can be addressed in an outpatient therapy office. Be open an honest with your therapist. Let them know you are self-harming and that you are also worried about going to the psychiatric hospital. They have your best interest at heart and can help you navigate this situation.
Remember, you can call a free and confidential 24/7 crisis line (1.844.493.8255) if you feel like self-harming.
How can I help my Family Member while they’re in the Psychiatric Hospital?
While your loved one is a patient at a psychiatric hospital we highly encourage you to call and visit them. Having visitors and being in touch by phone helps patients feel supported and cared for by those who are important in their lives. It is also very important to be involved after your loved one is discharged. If you notice any changes in behavior or the safety of your loved one you should contact the psychiatric hospital/outpatient team.