Mental Hospital

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Mental hospitals, also known as psychiatric hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their goals and methods. Some hospitals may specialize only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients. While others may specialize in the temporary or permanent care of residents who as a result of a psychological disorder, require routine long term assistance and treatment in a specialized and controlled environment.

These types of institutions vary widely in side, shape, focus, and funding. Some focus on long term care, while others are set up for criminals who have been diagnosed with a mental condition.

Every state within the United States of America has at least one publicly funded mental hospital and many states contain at least one mental hospital that is privately funded. While the funding for these hospitals may be different, both public state hospitals and private mental hospitals both use the same techniques in helping their patients


There are a number of different types of modern psychiatric hospitals, but all of them house people with mental illnesses of widely variable severity.

Crisis stabilization[edit]

The crisis stabilization unit is in effect an emergency room for psychiatry, frequently dealing with suicidal, violent, or otherwise critical individuals. Laws in many jurisdictions providing for long term involuntary commitment require a commitment order issued by a judge within a short time (after 72 hours, the evaluation period) of the patient's entry to the unit, if the patient does not or is unable to consent.

Open units[edit]

Open units are psychiatric units that are less secure than crisis stabilization units. They are not used for acutely suicidal persons; the focus in these units is to make life as normal as possible for patients while continuing treatment to the point where they can be discharged. However, patients are usually still not allowed to hold their own medications in their rooms, because of the risk of an impulsive overdose. While some open units are physically unlocked, other open units still use locked entrances and exits depending on the type of patients admitted.


Another type of psychiatric hospital is a medium term, which provides care lasting several weeks. Most drugs used for psychiatric purposes take several weeks to take effect, and the main purpose of these hospitals is to monitor the patient for the first few weeks of therapy to ensure the treatment is effective.

Juvenile wards[edit]

Juvenile wards are sections of psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric wards set aside for children and/or adolescents with mental illness. However, there are a number of institutions specializing only in the treatment of juveniles, particularly when dealing with drug abuse, self harm, or eating disorders.

Long term care facilities[edit]

In the UK long-term care facilities are now being replaced with smaller secure units (some within the hospitals listed above). Modern buildings, modern security and being locally sited to help with reintegration into society once medication has stabilized the condition[1][2] are often features of such units. An example of this is the Three Bridges Unit, in the grounds of Hanwell Asylum in West London and the John Munroe Hospital in Staffordshire. However these modern units have the goal of treatment and rehabilitation back into society within a short time-frame (two or three years) and not all forensic patients' treatment can meet this criterion, so the large hospitals mentioned above often retain this role. These hospitals provide stabalization and rehabilitation for those who are having difficulties such as depression, eating disorders, mental disorders, and so on.

Halfway houses[edit]

One type of institution for the mentally ill is a community-based halfway house. These facilities provide assisted living [3] for patients with mental illnesses for an extended period of time, and often aid in the transition to self-sufficiency. These institutions are considered to be one of the most important parts of a mental health system by many psychiatrists, although some localities lack sufficient funding.


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Vaslamatzis G.; Katsouyanni K.; Markidis M., "The efficacy of a psychiatric halfway house: a study of hospital recidivism and global outcome measure", European Psychiatry, 12:2, 1997 , pp. 94-97(4). doi: 10.1016/S0924-9338(97)89647-2

See Also[edit]