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Preventing Involuntary Psychiatric Hospital Admissions

depressed woman

Some people with developmental disabilities have a mental health condition.  You could have a developmental disability and a mental health condition.  This may cause you to become sad or upset.  You may need to go to the hospital if you hurt yourself or hurt someone else or damage property.  You may need to go to the hospital if you say you are going to hurt yourself or someone else.  Mental health conditions include:

  • Depression, (extreme or prolonged episode of sadness);
  • Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Disorder, alternating episodes of mania "highs" and depression "lows";
  • Anxiety Disorder (severe fear or anxiety associated with certain objects or situations);
  • Schizophrenic Disorder (hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders); and
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (pattern of obsessive or repetitive thoughts or behaviors).

Going to the Hospital

If you have a mental health condition, you may get upset and act out your feelings.  This may be a sign that you are in a crisis.  You may hurt yourself, other people, or damage property.  You may need to go to the hospital.

This may happen if you:

  • Hurt yourself,
  • Hurt others,
  • Damage or destroy things,
  • Say you are going to hurt yourself, or
  • Say you are going to hurt others.

If you are in crisis, you may go to the hospital and stay for a few hours or a few days.  Depending on how upset you are, a judge may decide you need more treatment.  You may need some time to talk with a counselor or a therapist.  You may need new medication.  You will work with your team to decide how long you will stay in the hospital.  The team will include people from the hospital, your Regional Center Service Coordinator and your supporter.  Your family and friends may help.  With the team, you will talk about ways to help you control your feelings and things you can change to lower your stress. 

You may be able to tell when you start to get upset.

 There are signs that you may be getting upset. Warning signs may include:

  • Worrying about your daily routine like eating, dressing, or other day-to-day activities.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Feeling irritable or restless.
  • Having trouble thinking or concentrating.
  • Being angry often.
  • Feeling fearful or threatened by everyday things.
  • Feeling sad, or excited, for no good reason.
  • Hearing voices (inside your head) that tell you what to do.
  • Talking to yourself instead of others.

There are ways to control your behavior if you think you are starting to get upset.

These things may prevent you from having to go to the hospital.

You can talk to a counselor or therapist.  This is a trained person to talk with about your problems, concerns, or worries.  A counselor may be:

  • A psychiatrist,
  • A psychologist,
  • A social worker,
  • A therapist, or
  • Your minister, priest, or rabbi.

Talking with a counselor helps you when you are feeling sad or upset.  You can plan what to do when you are sad or upset.  If you don't have a counselor, your support person or Regional Center Service Coordinator can help you to make an appointment.

Talk to others:

  • Call family or friends.
  • Talk to your support person.
  • Call your doctor.

Sometimes you need to be with other people.  Spending time with friends or family can help you to think about other things.  You can do things you enjoy.  This will make you happy.  You will think about things that make you smile.

Do things you enjoy:

  • Exercise.  Go for a walk.  Ride your bike.  Go to dance class.  Your brain feels better when you exercise.
  • Listen to music.  Sing a song.
  • Reduce stress.  Take time out for yourself.
  • Practice relaxation exercises.  Think about things you like and enjoy.
  • Volunteer.  Doing something for someone else can make you happy.  It helps to take your mind off your worries.
  • Try a new activity.
  • Eat healthy foods.

Asking for Help

It is important to ask for help when you are getting upset.  Asking for help early may stop you from going to the hospital.  

To get help, you can:

  • Call a friend or a family member.
  • Call your support person.
  • Call your Regional Center Service Coordinator.
  • Ask your Regional Center Service Coordinator for the telephone number of your local Regional Center Crisis Intervention Service.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone.  Call if you are thinking about hurting yourself.  Your call will be sent to the crisis center nearest to you.  The telephone number is: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • You can call your local County Mental Health Crisis Intervention Service. These are 24-Hour services. Click here for a list of telephone numbers.       
  • You can call the Network of Care for more ideas about groups in your area. Click here to find resources in California.

Other Resources

Last updated on Thu, 07/07/2011 - 16:18