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How to Admit Yourself to a Mental Hospital?

Learn more about signs of needing mental health care, and how Iris Healing® can help.


Article Contents

Mental Health and Hospitalization

Visiting a mental hospital or treatment center is much more common than you may think, and in many cases is highly necessary for long-lasting recovery. This type of hospitalization isn’t only for those with serious mental issues, as it can also greatly benefit those who may be experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety, and depression, among many other disorders. 

Admitting yourself or your loved one into an inpatient facility can seem daunting. However, it is important to know that it can be a deeply beneficial experience that can provide you or your loved one with the necessary tools for overall wellness.

Importance of Prioritizing Mental Health Care

The importance of taking good care of our mental health is increasingly being recognized and prioritized. Also, technological and societal advancements have made it feasible for many treatment centers to help with mental health disorders effectively and at a relatively low cost.1

When individuals show signs of mental or emotional issues that may put their well-being or those around them at risk, mental health hospitalization should be considered.2

When to Admit Yourself to a Mental Hospital

While there are many reasons that going to a psychiatric facility could be helpful, only a professional can help determine whether inpatient psychiatric care is a good option for you. Inpatient psychiatric treatment functions to provide around-the-clock medical expertise and care for those who need it. Signs you or a loved one may need to go to a hospital for inpatient mental health care include:

You Pose a Danger to Yourself or Others

Mental health disorders affect everyone differently, and sometimes can often lead to physical or verbal abuse, psychomotor agitation, violent tendencies, and a strong desire to use drugs or binge drink. Once you’ve noticed these patterns of actions or thoughts leaning toward harming yourself or someone else, it might be time to consider a check-in at a mental hospital for inpatient treatment. 

You’re Having Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors

Feelings of profound sadness and melancholy are common symptoms of depression. However, when this distress leads to thoughts of ending your life, it might be time to consider help at a treatment center in order to keep yourself safe. 

Inpatient depression treatments, particularly suicidal inpatient care, should be seriously considered when these types of feelings occur, as they will often get to a point that the brain or body can no longer manage them. 

You’re Not Taking Care of Yourself

The development of mental health conditions is frequently marked by reduced executive functioning and activity in the areas of the brain responsible for drive and motivation. 

This can result in excessive lethargy and the inability to carry out essential daily tasks, meaning that it may be time to consider other alternatives, like inpatient care, in order to make sure you’re staying safe and healthy. 

You’re Experiencing Psychotic Episodes

Psychosis is a condition that changes how information is processed in the brain. It can be caused by a mental illness, physical injury, substance misuse, or an intense stressor. It may also be a symptom of an underlying mental health issue.3

Experiencing psychotic episodes marked by auditory or visual hallucinations and delusions is reason enough to consult a doctor about seeking inpatient therapy or treatment. Checking into a hospital for anxiety may also help calm and reduce psychotic episodes. 

What to Expect From a Mental Hospital

A mental hospital is a facility that specializes in the treatment of mental health disorders. The size and classification of these hospitals vary greatly, with some focusing primarily on short-term or outpatient rehabilitation, while others specialize in providing temporary or permanent residential care for people who require routine maintenance or treatment. 

Admission into a mental hospital usually is made through the emergency department or the hospital’s community mental health care program. However, a psychologist or family doctor can arrange private mental health hospitalization as well.

How Long is the Stay?

The number of days between admission and discharge, also known as length of stay (LOS), is an essential metric in inpatient depression treatment. Studies show a stay of fifteen to thirty days in a mental hospital is often sufficient, though this varies from person to person. Some people stay only a day or two, and others remain as long as four to five weeks.4

While it is challenging to pinpoint factors that can predict the required length of stay, factors such as age, gender, diagnosis, the severity of symptoms, number of previous admissions, and response to treatment are all important factors to consider. However, a self-admitted mental health patient who voluntarily commits to the hospital can leave whenever they wish. 

What Mental Health Services Do Hospitals Offer?

These psychiatric treatment centers offer various services, all of which are designed to ensure that people who are hospitalized receive the care and support that is appropriate for their needs in an environment that respects their human rights.5

Potential Services

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health care. Mental health hospitals’ services are diverse in order to meet the needs of a diverse group of people. Some of the services offered in mental health hospitals  include:6

  • Clinical assessment and treatment
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy 
  • Medication management 
  • Medical supervision 
  • Leisure activities 
  • Family therapy sessions

How Can the Hospital Help with Mental Illness?

When coping with a mental health crisis, a mental health treatment center is an excellent choice. These centers are typically equipped to give the level of care and attention required to deal with the situation.

Checking yourself into a treatment facility can make all the difference in slowing the progression of a mental health condition. In addition, hospitals can assist in many ways, including: 


The staff in psychiatric treatment centers are well-trained and equipped to keep every patient safe with regular supervision without infringing on privacy. They also monitor improvement and can help change certain treatment options if something may not be working for you or your loved one.

To Escape For A Few Days

Hospital stays are an excellent way to break up the routine that can exacerbate the distress that someone is already experiencing. In addition, going to a new environment and connecting with new people can help the mind focus on the healing process.

To Get Quick, Comprehensive Medical Care

Mental health treatment centers are designed to provide treatment and care that is planned, detailed, and coordinated to meet patients’ physical, mental, and cognitive health needs.

To Set Up Aftercare

After the completion of treatment for hospitalized mental illness, a source of concern is the thought of going back to daily life. Hospitals are aware of this and offer aftercare programs to help make the transition into the real world as seamless as possible.

What Hospital Rules to Expect

The entire purpose of admitting yourself to a hospital for depression or other disorders is to stay safe and to set up an ongoing treatment plan. Therefore, specific and regulated rules are in place to help patients stay safe while also allowing them to focus on recovery. Patients are expected to comply with hospital requirements during treatment for mental illness. 

When contemplating inpatient care for depression, expect rules along the lines of:

Initially Being in A Locked Ward That You Cannot Leave at Will

Ward doors in psychiatric hospitals are closed as a security measure. This is for the health and safety of patients and staff, and helps to reduce the likelihood that someone could harm themselves or others, either accidentally or intentionally.

Locking Away Certain Items That You Could Potentially Use to Harm Yourself

To keep patients from harming themselves or others, caregivers tend to keep any object that could be used as a weapon locked away. Sharp objects such as shaving razors or nail clippers are commonly prohibited, as well as personal effects like belts, shoelaces, and strings of any type.

Following a Schedule for Meals, Treatments, Activities, and Bedtime

Many hospitals providing mental health care have a schedule to help bring order to daily activities. This includes regularly scheduled meals, recreational indoor and outdoor activities, visiting hours, group therapy, and a set bedtime.

Sharing a Room with Someone Else

Depending on the reason for the admission, you may be asked to share a room. You’ll most likely be allocated to a room with one another patient (semi-private ward). However, this varies greatly depending on the facility size and location.

Your Rights as a Patient in Hospital

As a person receiving in-patient mental health care, you have rights protected by the Mental Health Act of 2001. Before making decisions about your care and treatment in a mental hospital for depression and anxiety, caregivers must consider your best interests. 

Patients also have the right to participate in health-related decisions. They are fully informed about their legal rights before admission and treatment. While it is important to trust healthcare professionals, it is important to know that you have a voice and agency in your own treatment.

Additional Rights and Protections

In addition to those detailed above, it is also your right to:7

  • Be completely informed about all tests and treatments, along with how that treatment may affect you
  • Refuse any tests or treatments that you do not feel comfortable with
  • Refuse to participate in experimental treatment or training sessions

How to Check Yourself into a Mental Hospital

When considering admitting yourself to a hospital for depression or any mental health condition, it is usually a good idea to contact the hospital ahead of time to inquire about policies and procedures. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the whole process, try getting the support of someone you can trust to help your admission go as smoothly as possible. When checking yourself into a mental health hospital, you should have the following information on hand:

  • Name and contact information for your doctor
  • Contact information for trustworthy friends, family members, or support group members
  • Information on any additional health concerns you may have
  • A list of all the medications you’re taking
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Insurance information

Get Help with Mental Health Crisis at Iris Healing®

Once you’ve committed to recovery, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. A successful program often includes various activities such as counseling, medication, and long-term follow-up. These programs help keep your recovery on track and provide you with a community you can count on. 

Opportunities for Wellness

Take charge of your recovery with Iris Healing®. Our sole purpose is to provide you or a loved one with the best tailored addiction treatment. We also want to move at a speed that is appropriate and convenient for you or your loved ones, as we understand that each person’s recovery path is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. 

Our comprehensive approach to drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation, coupled with therapy and other treatment options, can help you live your best life spiritually, physically, and emotionally. You will receive all the support needed to set you back on course so you can begin living the life you deserve. For more information, please reach out to Iris Healing® today.

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