Mental Health

Psychological Stresses of Admission to a Mental Hospital

Painted as an ugly picture in movies, metal hospitals look like a habitat for the crazies. Anyone in the sane mind entering such a facility will surely turn insane like everyone else inside, surely it seems?

Official statement versus what you think you know

The socalled politically correct answer probably goes along these lines of “rehabilitation” and “managing the mental welfare” so that their residents can “reintegrate to regular society”.

What you miss is possibly the opinion of some who perceive that mental hospitals exist to protect the rational and lucid general population like you and me. The systematic triage of the sound from the unsound creates distinct categorisation. If one appears or demonstrates possibility of delusion or plainly being brainsick, then he is thrown into the dungeons to rot (not entirely true!)

We should recognise mental awareness

The mental faculties of the mind is arguably just as important as the physical functions of our organs. If we can go to the A&E (emergency room) to fix our bodies, then why should we avoid mental institutions just because of the associated stigma?

Mental hospitals provide psychiatric attention of mental disorders. Yet, some patients find it hard to get help.

Poor receptivity by the public over mental conditions has given potential patients few outlets to treatment. Hiding problems do not solve them. Ailments manifest. You know this: symptoms will worsen if they are left alone.

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Should I admit myself (or someone I know) to a mental hospital?

Admission to a mental facility is not an easy decision to make. It has negative social stigma associated. The process of patient admission isn’t transparent as many would like it to be, as hopsital administrators worry that putting it out public will push people away from seeking treatment at all. (What?)

Indefinite detention

To protect the wider population, doctors have the right to protect the vulnerable and to contain threats if they anticipate any. Should a person seen by the doctor to be deemed unstable or unsuitable to be in public, hospital staff may indefinitely detain the patient for assessment and treatment.

The detention of a mentally ill patient is typically not recognised as an arrest and does not involve bail or incarceration. Unlike arrest-able offences and bail, in severe cases the patient does not have the freedom to leave the hospital facility.

Some hospitals do not explicitly highlight this anywhere in admission procedures, but if the law dictates, then the hospital follows suit.

Presenting the patient as suitable candidate for treatment

Like every other regular hospital, mental hospitals have an inpatient and an outpatient department.

For many would-be patients, they prefer to get the medication they need and discretely consume them. This is so as to not alert anyone they know (such as friends) from knowing they are seeking mental medical help.

However, the choice of inpatient and outpatient does not lie with the patient but with the doctor – for public safety, yet again.

Therefore, many mental patients find it paramount to present themselves as treatable subjects who do not require constant medical attention and hence do not need to be admitted inpatient. Rather, they pick up the medication at the pharmacy and follow the medication schedule religiously at home. Periodically returning for scheduled follow up appointments such candidates are able to manage (i.e. keep under control) their mental state from a residential setting.

Risks between evading necessary medical care and accepting mental illness treatment

Skipping past a toothache gets you a painful extraction. Skipping an MRI scan of a nasty knock in the head can end you up in a concussion from internal haemorrhage. While skipping past chest tightness can help you find peace in your coffin years earlier than God intended.

Seeking medical attention at a mental hospital should not be your go-to option. If you need help, get it.

What happens if you seek treatment at a mental hospital?

Similar to any regular hospital, you first undergo triage and registration.

Note: For cases where the patient is uncooperative or violent, an ambulance may be required for safe facilitated transport to the hospital. Calling an ambulance for psychiatric conditions is easy, but is likely chargeable.

Step 1 – Triage and registration

This process where you are first assessed by a nurse helps the hospital classify you based on the seriousness and urgency of your medical condition. The symptoms you present visually and the verbalisation of these symptoms experienced allow the nurse to evaluate and place you in the queue. Admin staff will also take down your particulars at this point.

Step 2 – Emergency room doctor evaluation

The second step involves you actually seeing a doctor where tertiary assessment happens. For most mental conditions, a physical assessment is not necessary. Rather, a series of questions will be posed to rule out possible conditions and further determine which specific medical condition you have. The process of elimination is very important as it affects the subsequent treatment plan prescribed.

Trusted family members may also be interviewed to investigate into details. Having family present with the patient is generally evident of strong family support. This allows for the doctor to explore more alternatives besides regular inpatient (i.e. warded / stay inside the hospital) and instead look for options like staying with grandparents or a children’s home. Living away from home may be great options to give the patient some breathing space from family stressors and this time away can relieve the unspoken strain which will be beneficial toward effective long-term treatment.

Step 3 – Admission or TCU

TCU is clinical shorthand for next follow-up appointment. As elaborated in earlier sections of this article, patients on this treatment plan are given outpatient medication to consume at home and will only come back for further follow up on appointment day.

For patients requiring closer monitoring, they may be assigned a bed as early as after leaving the doctor’s office. Admission procedures further involve picking the bed and ward (if a choice of accommodation is given). Single room or shared options with 4, 6 or 8 patients in a communal living space. Admission timeline may be shared through the nurses to the patient’s family. The next of kin who will now learn how many days the patient is likely to be warded for, will also learn the costs of lodging and medical care.

Visitation hours in mental hospitals mainly are in the daytime from 10 am to 5 pm. This avoids the sleep time which comes right after dinner in most facilities.

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This post was last modified on March 17, 2021 5:49 pm

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