Understanding Voluntary Psychiatric Hold

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 2, 2023
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Voluntary psychiatric hold, also known as voluntary commitment, is a process through which individuals willingly admit themselves into a psychiatric hospital or mental health facility.

This typically happens when a person recognizes they’re experiencing a mental health crisis and believes inpatient psychiatric care is necessary for their well-being.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team’s background includes working as therapists, counselors and in residential mental health facilities. Our background, thorough research, and writing standards help us write about voluntary psychiatric holds.

The Process and Reasons

The process begins with the individual seeking a psychiatric evaluation, often prompted by symptoms such as extreme distress, inability to function daily, or potential harm to oneself or others. After the assessment, the individual can agree to admission to determine if hospitalization is recommended.

The primary reason for choosing a voluntary commitment to inpatient services is recognizing a need for help. It allows individuals to maintain some control over their treatment and can be a proactive step toward recovery.

However, it’s not without its challenges. Depending on the state’s laws, leaving the facility may not be as simple as requesting a discharge once a person is admitted. This can lead to feelings of loss of freedom or autonomy.

Involuntary vs. Voluntary Commitment

Historically, an involuntary commitment was more common, where individuals deemed dangerous to themselves or others were forcibly hospitalized. However, this approach has been criticized for potential human rights violations.

In contrast, voluntary commitment puts the decision on inpatient treatment in the hands of the individual, promoting a sense of empowerment and ownership of one’s mental health journey.

This video highlights the downsides of involuntary commitment and its harmful effects on a person’s well-being.

Depressed and Locked in a Psychiatric Hospital

Conditions That May Require Hospitalization

Various conditions may necessitate hospitalization, including severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders. In cases where these conditions lead to suicidal ideation or self-harming behaviors, hospitalization can be a life-saving intervention with the help of the treatment team. Refusal or delay in seeking help can result in worsening symptoms, potential harm, or even death in extreme cases.

Seeking Voluntary Psychiatric Hold: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Recognize the Signs: Acknowledge if you cannot cope, are distressed, or pose a risk to yourself or others.
  2. Seek Evaluation: Consult a mental health professional for a 5150 assessment.
  3. Consider Recommendations: If hospitalization is advised, consider it seriously.
  4. Admit Yourself: If you agree, the hospital will guide you through admission.
  • Right to receive treatment that respects your dignity and autonomy
  • Right to be informed about your treatment
  • Right to refuse certain treatments unless there’s an immediate threat to life
  • Right to privacy and confidentiality

If you or someone needs to be hospitalized for psychiatric reasons

Navigating the realm of mental health can be overwhelming, especially when a situation escalates to necessitate hospitalization. Whether it’s you or someone you care about, understanding the process of a voluntary psychiatric hold can be crucial.

Here are some key points to remember:

  1. Recognize the Signs: It may be time for a professional intervention if daily functioning becomes challenging due to mental health issues.
  2. Seek Help: Reach out to mental health professionals for an evaluation.
  3. Voluntary Admission: If recommended, consider hospitalization as a step towards recovery.
  4. Know Your Rights: As a voluntary patient, you have specific rights that protect your interests.
  5. Post-Discharge Plan: Have a plan in place for continuing care after discharge.

When a mental health condition becomes urgent, you can admit yourself for a psychiatric hold

Navigating mental health challenges can be daunting; sometimes, a voluntary psychiatric hold may be necessary for safety and recovery.

Here’s a quick, conversational rundown on the topic:

  1. Understanding the Hold: It’s a self-initiated admission into a mental health facility.
  2. When to Consider: It might be time if you’re facing severe distress or potential harm to yourself/others.
  3. The Process: Starts with a psychiatric evaluation and could lead to hospitalization based on the assessment.
  4. Your Rights: Even as a voluntary patient, you have rights – like refusing certain treatments and maintaining privacy.
  5. After the Hold: There’s life after a hold, with continued care and therapy aiding recovery.

Who can request voluntary admission to an inpatient mental health facility?

When mental health challenges become overwhelming, voluntarily admitting oneself into a psychiatric facility can be a significant step toward recovery. So, who can one contact to request this voluntary admission?

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Self-Request: If you recognize you’re in crisis, you can request admission.
  2. Caregivers or Family: Those close to you can also initiate the process, especially if you cannot.
  3. Mental Health Professionals: Therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists who identify a crisis may suggest hospitalization.
  4. Legal Authorities: In some cases, law enforcement or court officials might recommend admission for safety reasons.

What are my rights if I decide to leave the facility?

While being admitted to a voluntary psychiatric hold is a proactive step toward mental health recovery, knowing your rights is crucial should you decide to leave the facility.

Here’s a simplified rundown:

  1. Request to Leave: As a voluntary patient, you can typically request to leave the facility.
  2. Written Notice: Some states require you to submit a written notice of your intent to discharge yourself.
  3. Review Period: There might be a review period during which the facility assesses your readiness for discharge.
  4. Involuntary Commitment: If professionals believe you’re still a danger to yourself or others, they may initiate an involuntary commitment.

What are my rights generally as a voluntary patient?

When you seek voluntary admission to a psychiatric facility, knowing your rights as a patient is crucial. These rights protect your interests and ensure you receive the care you need. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Right to Refuse Treatment: As a voluntary patient, you generally have the right to refuse any medical or mental health treatment, including medications. Source
  2. Right to Leave: Typically, you can submit a written request to leave the hospital unless the director believes you’re a danger to yourself or others. Source
  3. Right to Privacy: You are entitled to privacy and confidentiality concerning your treatment and medical records. Source
  4. Right to Be Informed: You have the right to be informed about your treatment plan, the risks and benefits of treatment, and alternatives. Source

If I voluntarily came to the hospital, under what circumstances can my physician apply for court-ordered mental health services?

Even if you voluntarily admit yourself to a psychiatric facility, there can be circumstances where your physician might apply for court-ordered mental health services.

Here are some of the legal criteria for those situations:

  1. Danger to Self or Others: If you threaten yourself or others, your doctor might seek a court order.
  2. Unable to Care for Self: Court-ordered services could be considered if you cannot meet your basic needs due to your mental health.
  3. Non-compliance with Treatment: A court order might be sought to ensure you get the care you need if you consistently refuse necessary treatment.
  4. Deteriorating Mental Health: A court order could be pursued if your mental health worsens significantly during your stay.

About a Voluntary Psychiatric Hold

A voluntary psychiatric hold can be crucial to recovery when navigating mental health crises. Here’s a simplified overview:

  1. What it is: It’s a self-initiated admission into a mental health facility.
  2. When it’s needed: It comes into play during severe distress or potential harm to oneself or others.
  3. The process: Involves a psychiatric evaluation and possible hospitalization based on the assessment.
  4. Rights of the patient: Voluntary patients have certain rights, including refusing certain treatments and maintaining privacy.
  5. Post-Hold Care: Recovery continues after the hold with ongoing care, therapy, and financial expenses.

Next Steps After Discharge

After a voluntary psychiatric hold, knowing the next steps to continue your mental health journey is essential. Here’s a brief guide on what to do post-discharge:

  1. Follow-up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your mental health provider for continued care. This is very important. Research indicates risk of suicide is highest in the first few months after hospitalization.
  2. Medication Management: If prescribed, take your medication as directed and report any side effects.
  3. Therapy and Counseling: Continue with recommended therapy or counseling sessions.
  4. Support Network: Lean on your friends, family, or support group support network.
  5. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that help manage stress and promote well-being.

What Happens After a Stay

Voluntary Psychiatric Hold  Conclusion

In conclusion, a voluntary psychiatric hold can be a critical and beneficial step toward recovery for individuals facing severe mental health crises. It allows patients to maintain autonomy over treatment decisions while ensuring their safety and well-being.

However, it’s essential to understand the process, rights, and potential challenges associated with this decision. If you or someone you know is considering voluntary commitment, seek professional advice immediately. Remember, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but a courageous act of self-care.

Finally, tell us what mental health software to review next on Online Mental Health Reviews. If you have stories about using a particular product or know of a discount code, please share so everyone may benefit!

If You Are In Crisis

In times of crisis, waiting for an online therapy session might not be the safest option. If you’re in immediate danger or have thoughts of harming yourself or others, dial 911 immediately. Remember, there’s always help available around the clock.

For those experiencing suicidal thoughts, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a quick dial away 988. They’re there to assist you 24/7.

Moreover, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) operates a National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This toll-free service offers confidential assistance for individuals struggling with mental illness or substance abuse disorders, providing information and treatment options every day of the year, any time of the day.

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