Overview of Mental Health Hospitalization

What should I expect if I am hospitalized?

You may be wondering what to expect when you are admitted into the hospital. Here are some of the most common activities that take place within an inpatient hospital unit:

Assignment to a Professional, Interdisciplinary Treatment Team. When admitted, you will likely be assigned to a treatment team including an attending physician, nurse, social worker, and others. The members of the team are there to address your specific needs during your stay. Remember: You too are an important member of your treatment team.

Regular Meetings with Your Treatment Team. Your treatment team will meet with you regularly, perhaps daily, to talk about your immediate needs. The team’s main goal is to get you feeling better and back into your daily routine.  Members of the team are available for any questions you may have during your stay.

Group Activities. These activities teach coping skills that you can use while you are in the hospital and once you leave to help you manage your mental health. Group activities also provide you with the opportunity to talk with other patients and see firsthand that others are dealing with many of the same concerns you are facing.

Discharge Planning. Near the end of your stay, your treatment team will help you make a plan for when you leave the hospital. This discharge process may include finding an outpatient psychiatrist or therapist, joining a support group, making academic arrangements, accessing community resources and more.

How long will I be in the hospital?

The length of your stay will depend on the severity of your symptoms and your level of functioning. As an active participant in your own treatment and discharge planning, you will work with your treatment team to determine the length of your inpatient stay based upon your individual needs. When thinking about the length of a hospital stay, it is important to remember the goals of mental health hospitalization:

  • To keep you safe.
  • To reduce the severity of your symptoms and increase your level of functioning through treatment.
  • To determine a diagnosis, if one has not already been made.  
  • To provide you with information and coping skills to better equip you to manage your mental health outside of the hospital.
  • To work with you to create a plan for ongoing treatment.

Who will be contacted about my hospitalization?

  • Your treatment in the inpatient unit is confidential.
  • If you have an outpatient healthcare provider, she/he may be contacted ONLY if you first provide written consent by completing and signing a release of information form.  It is helpful to keep your care provider informed in order to receive the best care possible.
  • It can be helpful to contact supportive friends and family members as well. Your treatment team can contact them for you, but ONLY if you first provide your consent for them to do so.  
  • You may want your hospital stay to remain confidential with the exception of close friends and family. However, there may be others who are concerned about your wellbeing. You may want to ask a friend or family member to inform them that you are safe.  
  • If you are living in a residence hall, you might want to ask someone to contact your Resident Advisor (RA) on your behalf to let he/she know that you are safe.
  • One of the best things you can do is to contact the Dean of Students Office.  The staff is prepared to support you and can contact your RA, instructors, or others if needed.  All contacts are made with your permission and with sensitivity to your right to privacy.

What about school?

As a busy U-M student, it may be distressing that you are not able to attend classes or maintain your usual study habits while in the hospital. That’s understandable, but getting well is the most important step to help you achieve academic success. You will be much more productive in your classes once you are feeling better. Once you leave the hospital, you can work with others to make a back-to-school plan.


Next > Plan for Staying Healthy Outside the Hospital

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