How To Find A Psychiatric Hospital Near Me: A Comprehensive Guide

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 8, 2023
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Understanding mental health care options can be overwhelming, especially if you or a loved one is in crisis.

One such option that might come up in your search is a psychiatric ward (or psych ward), a specialized hospital unit for the treatment of serious mental health feelings issues.

Working as therapists, counselors, and in residential mental health facilities are among the backgrounds of the Online Mental Health Reviews team. We can write about the procedures involving psychiatric holds thanks to our expertise, rigorous research, and writing standards.

This guide will help you navigate this terrain by providing a comprehensive overview of what a psych ward is, why someone might need to be hospitalized, how to find a psych ward near you, and explaining important terms like ‘5150’ and ’72-hour hold’.

What is a Psych Ward?

A Day in My Life as a Psych Ward Hospital Patient | VLOG

Psychiatric or psych wards are specialized hospital units for treating serious mental health issues in adults. They provide a safe and controlled environment where patients receive intensive care and close monitoring.

  • Patients may be admitted to a psychiatric ward if they pose a significant risk to themselves or others due to mental health conditions.
  • Conditions treated in these facilities include severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other severe mental health disorders that require immediate attention and cannot be managed in an outpatient setting.
  • Admission to a psych ward can be voluntary, where the patient willingly seeks treatment, or involuntary, typically under laws allowing for temporary detention and evaluation if the person is deemed a danger to themselves or others.
  • The specific program of treatments provided in a psych ward can vary depending on the individual’s diagnosis. Still, it generally involves medication management, therapy (individual, group, or family), and psychoeducation.

How to Find a Psych Ward Near You

  1. Online Search: Use online search tools to locate nearby facilities. A simple search of “psych ward near me” or “psychiatric hospital near me” on a search engine can provide nearby facilities. Websites such as Psychology Today have comprehensive directories.
    • Zocdoc is also known as the ‘Google’ of mental health (one quick search to find local healthcare professionals covered by your insurance plan)
  2. Healthcare Providers: Consult with professionals who can provide referrals and recommendations based on specific needs and circumstances.
  3. Insurance Company: Contact your insurance provider for a list of in-network psychiatric hospitals. You may also want to compare health insurance plans or try short-term health insurance.
  4. Local Mental Health Clinics or Hotlines: These resources often have information about local psychiatric services and can guide you to the appropriate facilities.
  5. Use Treatment Locators: Websites like SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator can help you find mental health services in your area.

Why Might Someone Need Hospitalization in a Psych Ward?

Psychiatric hospitalization, or admission to a psych ward, is typically considered when an individual’s mental health condition has escalated to a point where outpatient treatment is insufficient or when there’s a significant risk to oneself or others.

Here are some situations where hospitalization in an emergency room or a psych ward might be necessary:

  1. Danger to Self or Others: Serious suicidal thoughts or attempts, violent behaviors, or severe self-neglect due to mental illness.
  2. Need for Intensive Treatment: When symptoms of a mental health disorder become too severe to manage without round-the-clock care, hospitalization may be required.
  3. Medication Adjustment: In some cases, medications must be adjusted in a controlled environment to monitor side effects and responses.
  4. Crisis Stabilization: During a mental health crisis, such as a severe depressive episode or a psychotic break, immediate hospitalization can stabilize.

The goal of hospitalization is to provide a safe, structured environment for intensive treatment, stabilization of the condition, and harm prevention.

The decision is often made in consultation with mental health professionals. In some cases, it may be legally mandated for the safety of the individual or the public. Talk to a healthcare professional immediately if you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis.

Why Hospitalization?

Psychiatric hospitalization is typically considered when outpatient treatment isn’t enough or when there’s a significant risk to oneself or others. It provides a safe, controlled environment for intensive treatment, stabilization, and close monitoring of the patient’s condition.

Understanding 5150 and 72-Hour Hold

One term you may come across in your research is ‘5150’, a section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that allows a person with a mental illness to be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization when they threaten themselves or others or are gravely disabled.

A ’72-hour hold’, also known as ’emergency commitment’, ‘involuntary commitment’, or ’emergency hospitalization’, is a short-term legal procedure when it is believed that an individual poses a danger due to a mental disorder.

Key Sources for Further Reading:

Inside a Psychiatric Ward: What to Expect

Entering a psychiatric ward for the first time can be a daunting experience, but understanding what to expect can help reduce anxiety.

Psychiatric wards are secure, hospital-based facilities that provide 24-hour care and monitoring services. Upon admission, an intake assessment is usually conducted to gather information about your mental health history and current state. This helps the healthcare team develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Daily life in a psychiatric ward typically follows a structured routine, which can include the following:

  1. Therapy Sessions: These can be individual, group, or family-based, depending on your treatment plan.
  2. Medication Management: If medication is part of your treatment, its administration and effects will be closely monitored.
  3. Meals and Breaks: Regularly scheduled meals and breaks are provided.
  4. Recreational Activities: These may include exercise, art therapy, or other activities to promote well-being, such as evidence-based journaling or mindfulness meditation classes.

Remember, every person’s experience differs, and every hospital operates differently. The goal is to provide a safe and supportive space for healing and recovery.

It’s also important to note that there are rules in place for the safety and well-being of all patients. These can include restrictions on personal items, visitation guidelines, and facility behavior protocols.

For more information, this Psycom article details what life in a psych ward is like by featuring the story of a woman with bipolar disorder who reveals what’s behind the closed doors of a psych ward.

The Downsides of A Psych Ward

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Psychiatric wards, also known as mental health units or behavioral health units, are hospital departments where individuals with mental health conditions receive treatment. Meta-analysis research paints an overall positive picture of inpatient facilities but also notes that while these settings can provide life-saving care, there are potential downsides to consider:

  1. Limited Privacy: Psychiatric wards often require shared living spaces, which can limit personal privacy.
  2. Restricted Independence: Many wards have strict daily schedules and rules, potentially leading to feelings of loss of control or autonomy.
  3. Stigma: Unfortunately, societal stigma regarding mental health can intensify feelings of shame or embarrassment for individuals in psychiatric wards.
  4. Potential Trauma: The experience of being in a psychiatric ward, particularly if admission was involuntary, can be traumatic for some individuals.
  5. Quality of Care Concerns: In underfunded or understaffed facilities, the quality of care may suffer, potentially leading to inadequate treatment.
  6. Medication Side Effects: Treatment often involves medication, which can come with unwanted side effects.
  7. Financial Burden: Without adequate insurance coverage, the cost of a stay in a psychiatric ward can be significant
  8. Disruption to Daily Life: Being in a psychiatric ward can disrupt work, school, or family responsibilities.
  9. Isolation from Loved Ones: Depending on the facility’s visitation policies, individuals may feel isolated from their support networks.
  10. Inadequate Aftercare Planning: Some facilities may not provide sufficient resources or support for transition back into daily life, potentially leading to relapses.

Everyone’s experience with psychiatric wards is unique, and many people find them crucial for their recovery journey. Discussing concerns with mental health professionals to ensure the most effective treatment plan is always important.

Conditions Treated in a Psych Ward

Psychiatric or psych wards are designed to treat various serious mental health problems and conditions requiring intensive care and monitoring.

These units are equipped to handle common and less common mental health disorders, providing treatment and support for patients in a controlled environment.

Here are some conditions commonly treated in a psych ward:

  1. Depression includes major depressive disorder and other treatments for severe depression that may lead to suicidal ideation or attempts.
  2. Anxiety Disorders can include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and other severe anxiety conditions significantly impair daily functioning.
  3. Bipolar Disorder: Individuals experiencing severe mania or depression may require hospitalization.
  4. Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders: These conditions often involve symptoms like hallucinations and delusions that may require intensive treatment.
  5. Substance Use Disorders: In some cases, individuals experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms or needing medical detoxification may be admitted to a psych ward.
  6. Eating Disorders: Severe disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa may warrant hospitalization due to the risk of serious physical health complications.

Typical Treatment Plans in a Psych Ward

Treatment plans within a psychiatric ward are personalized according to each patient’s needs. They are designed by a team of healthcare professionals, which may include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and social workers.

Here’s what a typical treatment plan might involve:

  1. Assessment: Upon admission, a comprehensive assessment is conducted to understand the patient’s mental health condition, medical history, and current symptoms.
  2. Medication Management: Medications may be prescribed and closely monitored for effectiveness and side effects.
  3. Therapy Sessions: Individual, group, and family therapy sessions are common treatment components. These sessions can help patients develop coping strategies via CBT, improve communication skills, and address underlying issues contributing to their mental health condition.
  4. Psychoeducation: Patients are educated about their mental health conditions, including symptoms, treatment options, and self-care strategies.
  5. Discharge Planning: From admission, the team begins planning for eventual discharge. This includes arranging outpatient services, ensuring a support system, and educating patients on managing their condition outside the hospital.

Psych Ward Near Me Conclusion

Remember, seeking help for mental health concerns is critical to recovery. While the process may seem overwhelming, resources are available to guide you through it.

Please know there are processes available to challenge 72-hour involuntary holds.

Our team wants to hear your thoughts regarding hospitalization as well. 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.

If You Are In Crisis

Don’t wait for an online therapy session if you’re experiencing a crisis or emergency. If you’re in immediate danger to yourself or others, dial 911. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, available 24/7. Call the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357) for concerns about mental health or substance abuse. This confidential service provides treatment information and referrals around the clock every day of the year.

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