8 Warning Signs You Need To Go To A Mental Hospital

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 14, 2023
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Mental health is as critical as physical health. But do you know when it’s time to seek professional help?

The Online Mental Health Reviews team’s qualifications include professional backgrounds in therapy, counseling, and residential mental health facilities, making us well-equipped to write about signs indicating the need for hospitalization.

Here are the top 8 warning signs that might indicate a need for mental healthcare:

Signs You Need to Go to a Mental Hospital

Inpatient mental health care, or psychiatric hospitalization, is a critical resource for individuals experiencing severe mental health issues.

Here are some signs that you or a loved one may need this level of care:

  1. Thoughts of Suicide – If you are contemplating suicide, it’s important to know that help is available. This can range from fleeting thoughts to detailed plans. If these thoughts are accompanied by a specific plan, the likelihood of acting on these thoughts, or if there’s a history of suicide attempts, it may be necessary to seek immediate assistance from a mental health facility. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is also available for immediate support.
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)) or Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741. Website
  2. Intense Depression – Depression is characterized by persistent sadness that continues for several weeks and is often accompanied by a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and changes in appetite and weight. The severity of depression can vary, with severe cases potentially leading to suicidal thoughts or attempts and significant impairment in daily life. In such cases, hospitalization may be required to ensure proper treatment.
    • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers peer-based, wellness-oriented support and empowering services. Website
  3. Manic Episodes – Mania is an extended period of elevated or euphoric mood, coupled with a decreased need for sleep, lasting at least a week. Additional symptoms can include rapid thought processes, irritability, and an inability to control impulses. If an individual with manic symptoms poses a threat to themselves or others or cannot look after their basic needs, hospitalization may be necessary.
    • The National Institute of Mental Health provides a detailed overview of bipolar disorder and symptoms of mania. Website
  4. Extreme Mood Fluctuations – Mood swings involve substantial shifts in a person’s emotional state. They can be a symptom of mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder and, in some instances, depression. These fluctuations can be distressing for the individual experiencing them and their loved ones. If these mood swings are severe, long-lasting, and uncontrollable, staying in a mental health hospital may be beneficial.
    • Mental Health America provides information about mood disorders and resources for support. Website
  5. Heightened Agitation – Agitation, ranging from mild restlessness to severe aggression, is a common symptom of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. It can also be a side effect of certain psychiatric medications. If agitation becomes severe, leading to intent to harm others, hospitalization may become necessary.
    • Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers resources on understanding and treating anxiety disorders and depression. Website
  6. Impulses to Self-Harm – Self-harm involves behaviors that cause harm to oneself, including cutting, burning, or other forms of self-injury. While many individuals who self-harm do not intend to die, they use this method as a coping mechanism for emotional pain. Though professional treatment is recommended for those who self-harm, hospitalization is not always required unless there is an intent to commit suicide or if self-harm leads to serious injury.
    • Self-Injury Outreach and Support is a global outreach organization offering resources and support related to self-injury. Website
  7. Impulses to Harm Others – In certain cases, heightened agitation and paranoia can lead to impulses to inflict harm on others. Individuals experiencing these urges, especially if they have concrete plans to act on them, require hospitalization for mental health.
    • American Psychological Association offers various resources and articles on understanding violent behavior. Website
  8. Paranoia – Paranoia involves intense fear or suspicion that others intend to cause harm or conspire against you. It’s a symptom of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and can sometimes occur in other conditions like bipolar disorder. Paranoia varies in intensity, and those experiencing it strongly believe in the reality of their perceptions. If paranoia leads to significant distress, risky behaviors, or violence, then hospitalization is necessary.
    • Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) provides resources for individuals affected by schizophrenia-related brain illnesses, their families, friends, and the general public. Website

If any of these signs apply to you or a loved one, it’s important to contact a mental health professional immediately.

10 Other Common Mental Illness Signs

Please keep in mind most people on planet Earth have these symptoms to some degree.

However, when these signs become severe and disrupt the normal functioning of life, and persist for days and weeks on end, that’s when it’s time to look into getting professional help:

  1. Extreme Mood Swings: Ever felt high as a kite one moment and deep in the dumps the next? Unpredictable, rapid mood swings can indicate an underlying issue like bipolar disorder.
  2. Persistent Sadness or Anxiety: Sometimes, feeling sad or anxious is normal. But if these feelings persist for weeks or months, it might be time to talk to a professional.
  3. Excessive Fear or Worry: Are you constantly on edge, worried about everything? Excessive fear or worry might indicate an anxiety disorder.
  4. Changes in Sleeping Habits: Are you sleeping too much or too little? Both can be warning signs of mental health issues such as insomnia or depression.
  5. Dramatic Changes in Eating Habits: Sudden weight gain or loss, overeating, or not eating at all can all signal physical signs of a possible problem.
  6. Feeling Disconnected or Detached: It might be a sign of dissociation if you feel disconnected from yourself or the world around you.
  7. Unexplained Physical Ailments: Have you ever had recurring headaches, stomach aches, or other physical symptoms without any apparent reason? These could be signs of stress or anxiety.
  8. Difficulty Coping with Daily Problems: If everyday problems seem overwhelming and impossible, it’s worth seeking help.
  9. Substance Abuse: Using substances to cope with feelings or situations can indicate an underlying mental health issue.
  10. Thoughts of Suicide: This is the most serious warning sign. If you’re thinking about suicide, contacting a professional is crucial.

Consider contacting a mental health professional if you’re experiencing any of these signs. Online platforms like Talkspace and Brightside offer accessible resources and therapists who can help. Remember, it’s okay to seek help. It’s a brave step towards better mental health.

Please note: This guide is intended to be informative but is not a substitute for professional advice or comprehensive medical care. Always consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember, your mental health matters. Don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it. You’re not alone, and there are resources available to support you.

5 Emotional Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems

Maintaining mental health is crucial for overall well-being.

However, mental health issues can sometimes creep in subtly, making it hard to recognize when you or a loved one might need help.

Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  1. Mood Changes: Rapid or drastic shifts in emotions or prolonged feelings of sadness or withdrawal.
  2. Sleep or Appetite Changes: Significant sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care.
  3. Difficulty Concentrating: Problems with focus, memory, or decision-making that affect daily activities.
  4. Intense Feelings: Overwhelming fear for no reason, constant worrying, or extreme feelings of guilt.
  5. Physical Symptoms: Unexplained aches, pains, or physical discomfort.

These signs could indicate a potential mental health problem requiring professional help. However, experiencing one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mental illness. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Here are more resources for immediate help:

Remember, there is no shame in seeking help. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can start on the path to recovery.

What If You pose a danger to yourself or others?

Feeling like you’re a danger to yourself or others is a serious sign of a mental health crisis. This could manifest as thoughts of violent behavior of self-harm, suicide, or causing harm to others.

It’s crucial to note that these feelings don’t mean you’re a ‘bad’ person; they indicate that you’re experiencing severe distress and need immediate help. Here are some steps to take:

  1. Reach Out: Contact a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. Let them know what you’re going through so they can provide support.
  2. Contact a Helpline: In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) are available 24/7.
  3. Seek Professional Help: If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, contact them. If not, go to an emergency room or a mental health crisis center.
  4. Ensure Safety: Try to be safe where you’re less likely to act on your thoughts of harm.

This is a critical situation that requires immediate attention. Please reach out to someone if you’re feeling this way. It’s not a sign of weakness but a step towards getting your needed help.

What if You’re not taking care of yourself?

Neglecting self-care is a common sign of several mental health conditions. If you notice a significant drop in your personal hygiene, nutrition, sleep, or other aspects of self-care, it might be time to seek professional help.

Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this situation:

  1. Reach Out to Loved Ones: Share your feelings with trusted friends or family members. They can provide emotional support and assist with practical matters like meal preparation or scheduling appointments.
  2. Consult a Healthcare Provider: A healthcare provider can assess your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and recommend treatment options.
  3. Prioritize Basic Needs: Establish a routine that includes regular meals, adequate sleep, and basic hygiene. Small steps can make a big difference.
  4. Consider Therapy: Therapists can provide strategies to manage stress, improve self-care habits, and address underlying mental health issues.
  5. Join a Support Group: Connecting with others experiencing similar struggles can provide comfort, reduce feelings of isolation, and offer practical advice.

What Are the Signs You Need to Go to a Mental Hospital for Depression?

Depression is a serious mental health condition that sometimes requires more intensive treatment, such as hospitalization. Here are some signs that you or a loved one may need to seek inpatient care for depression:

  1. Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts: If you’re having thoughts of suicide or have attempted suicide, it’s critical to seek immediate help.
  2. Unable to Perform Daily Tasks: If depression prevents you from working, attending school, or caring for basic needs, it may be time for hospitalization.
  3. Psychotic Symptoms: Symptoms like hallucinations or delusions can occur in severe cases of depression and require immediate attention.
  4. Self-Harm: Engaging in self-harming behaviors is a serious sign of distress that warrants immediate professional intervention.
  5. Lack of Response to Outpatient Treatment: Hospitalization may be necessary if symptoms persist despite ongoing outpatient treatment.

If these signs are present, seeking immediate professional help is crucial. Contact your healthcare provider, a local mental health clinic, or a trusted individual who can assist you in getting the care you need.

Here is a leading resource for further information and immediate help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You’re not alone, and many people and resources are available to support you.

When to Go to the ER for a Mental Health Crisis

How To Tell Your Parents You Need To Go To a Mental Hospital

A mental health crisis can be a frightening experience but the costs of a 5150 are expensive. Knowing when such a situation warrants a voluntary visit to the emergency room (ER) visit is important.

Here are some signs that you or a loved one may need immediate professional help:

  1. Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts: If you or a loved one is thinking about suicide or has attempted suicide, go to the ER immediately.
  2. Danger to Self or Others: If there’s a risk of harm to oneself or others, immediate intervention is needed.
  3. Severe Psychotic Symptoms: Symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, or extreme confusion require urgent care.
  4. Inability to Function: If the person cannot eat, sleep, or perform other basic tasks due to mental illness, seek immediate help.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, getting help immediately is essential. You can go to the nearest ER or call 911.

Can I be admitted to a mental hospital against my will?

In certain circumstances, an individual can be admitted to a mental health facility or hospital against their will. This process, known as involuntary commitment, or a 5150, is typically initiated when someone poses a significant danger to themselves or others due to a mental health condition.

Here are the general steps that may lead to involuntary commitment:

  1. Evaluation: A mental health professional must assess the individual and determine that they pose a risk due to their mental health condition.
  2. Petition: Typically, a family member, law enforcement officer, or healthcare provider files a petition for involuntary commitment.
  3. Hearing: In most jurisdictions, a court hearing is required. The individual has the right to legal representation.
  4. Decision: If the judge determines the individual is dangerous to themselves or others, they may order involuntary commitment.

What Is Inpatient Mental Health Treatment?

Inpatient, mental health treatment is a form of intensive, residential therapeutic care. It’s designed for individuals experiencing severe mental health issues that require round-the-clock supervision and immediate intervention.

Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Admission: After an assessment by a healthcare professional, the patient is admitted to the facility.
  2. Therapy Sessions: The patient participates in individual and group therapy sessions to address their mental health issues.
  3. Medication Management: If necessary, medical staff administer and monitor medications.
  4. Support: The patient has continuous access to healthcare professionals for help and crisis management, even after a 5150 hold.

The goal of inpatient treatment in mental hospitals is to stabilize the individual’s condition and equip them with coping strategies to manage their mental health once they leave the facility.

What Should I Expect as an Inpatient in a Mental Hospital?

Inpatient, mental health treatment can be a crucial step toward recovery for many people. Here’s what you can generally expect during such a stay:

  1. Assessment: Upon admission, you’ll undergo a comprehensive evaluation to determine your mental health needs and create a personalized treatment plan.
  2. Daily Routine: Inpatient facilities typically follow a structured daily schedule, including meals, therapy sessions, group activities, and rest time.
  3. Therapy: You’ll likely participate in various forms of treatment, such as individual counseling, group therapy, and possibly family sessions.
  4. Medication Management: If medication is part of your treatment plan, healthcare professionals will closely monitor and adjust as necessary.
  5. Discharge Planning: Before leaving the hospital, you’ll work with a team to develop a discharge plan. This plan will outline the steps for continued care after you leave the hospital.

Remember, everyone’s experience is unique, and the specific details of your stay may vary based on the facility and your personal mental health needs.

Who Makes Up A Comprehensive Mental Health Care Team?

A comprehensive mental health care team comprises professionals from different disciplines working together to provide holistic care to patients. This approach recognizes that mental health conditions often involve complex interactions between biological, psychological, and social factors.

Here’s who you might find on such a team:

  1. Psychiatrists: Medical doctors specializing in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, often through medication.
  2. Psychologists: Professionals who diagnose mental health conditions and provide therapy.
  3. Social Workers: These individuals offer counseling and connect patients with resources to help manage life challenges.
  4. Nurses: Nurses in mental health settings provide care, administer medication, and monitor patients’ physical health.
  5. Occupational Therapists: These therapists help patients develop daily living skills that may be affected by their mental health condition.
  6. Peer Support Specialists: Individuals who have personal experience with mental health conditions and can provide unique support and insight.

How Maintaining Self-Care Practices Helps With Mental Health

Maintaining balance in various aspects of your daily life can significantly improve mental health. This includes balancing work and personal life, emotional ups and downs, social interactions, and time spent alone.

Here’s how balance helps:

  1. Reduces Stress: Proper balance helps prevent excessive stress, often leading to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
  2. Improves Focus: When our life is balanced, we’re better able to focus, leading to enhanced productivity and satisfaction.
  3. Boosts Well-being: Balanced living means caring for physical health, positively impacting mental health.
  4. Enhances Resilience: A balanced lifestyle fosters resilience, enabling us to handle life’s challenges more effectively.

To achieve balance, consider these steps:

  • Prioritize self-care, including physical exercise and relaxation.
  • Set boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Cultivate a positive mindset and practice mindfulness.
  • Seek professional help if needed, such as therapy or counseling.

Take Steps Towards a Healthier Mind

Taking steps towards a healthier body image and mind involves combining practices promoting mental well-being. This often includes self-reflection, fostering positive relationships, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking professional help.

Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Self-Reflection: Take time each day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. This can help you understand your emotions better and manage them effectively.
  2. Foster Positive Relationships: Build and maintain healthy relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. These relationships can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  3. Maintain Physical Health: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can significantly impact mental health. Physical and mental health are interconnected, and caring for one often benefits the other.
  4. Stay Mentally Active: Engage in activities that challenge your mind, such as reading, puzzles, or learning a new skill. This can help keep your mind sharp and improve your mental health.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional or voluntary psychiatric hold (in more extreme cases). Therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists can provide valuable tools and resources to help manage mental health challenges.
  6. Compare Insurance Plans: With the rising healthcare costs, insurance plans provide an invaluable resource. There are tools to compare insurance plans and find the one best suited to your needs.

Signs You Need To Go To A Mental Hospital Conclusion

Recognizing the signs that you might need professional help is an essential first step toward better mental health. Whether it’s extreme mood swings, persistent sadness, dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits, or even thoughts of suicide, these warning signs should not be ignored.

It’s important to remember that there is no shame in seeking help. Mental health issues are common and treatable, and a wide range of resources are available to you, including online platforms like Talkspace and Brightside. Don’t be afraid to contact a mental health professional if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.

Remember, you’re not alone and don’t have to face these challenges alone. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Prioritize your mental health because you matter. And most importantly, remember that it’s okay to ask for help when needed.

Please comment below if you have any questions about the signs indicating a need for a mental health hospital or hospitalization. Our team wants to hear your thoughts too. Let us know which mental health software product that Online Mental Health Reviews should explore and review next. Please share discount codes, horror stories and your experiences.

In Case of an Emergency

If you are in a dire situation, it’s crucial not to delay seeking help by waiting for an online therapy session. If immediate assistance is needed, dial 911. This includes situations with a high risk of harm to yourself or others. Should you be considering self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 when you dial 988.

Additionally, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This service, available round the clock every day of the year, offers free and confidential assistance for individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues, providing them with treatment options and information.

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