Psychiatric hospitalization is sometimes a person’s first experience with mental illness and the mental health system. This can occur on a voluntary or an involuntary basis. In a voluntary admittance, a person agrees to go into the hospital of his or her own accord. A person is admitted to a psychiatric hospital on an involuntary basis when it has been determined that the person is a lethal threat to themselves or others. In the hospital, psychiatrists observe symptoms and prescribe treatment, including medication. As the most serious symptoms begin to subside, the doctors, nurses and social workers begin to teach the consumer about mental illness. Groups are offered that can help consumers learn more about their illness, learn about medications and discuss problems. The social worker on staff can link people with outside resources upon discharge. In Tennessee, the state system of psychiatric hospitals is made up of Regional Mental Health Institutes (RMHIs). For more information, click here:

Partial Hospitalization

Once a consumer stabilizes with psychiatric treatment, he or she may progress to a less-intensive treatment setting. A partial hospitalization program is an intensive psychiatric outpatient treatment that provides less than 24 hours of daily care. It is designed to provide consumers with an individualized and attentive treatment program that is not typically provided in a regular outpatient setting. Partial hospitalization also meets the needs of people who live in the community and need a higher level of care without the services of overnight, 24-hour nursing.

Partial hospitalization provides individual and group psychotherapy, social and vocational rehabilitation, occupational therapy, assistance with educational needs and other services to help consumers maintain their abilities to function at home, at work and in social circles. However, because this treatment setting helps people to identify a support network of friends and family who can help monitor their condition when they are not in the hospital, they can return home at night and on weekends. Partial hospitalization, also called day treatment, works best for people whose symptoms are under control. They enter care directly from the community or after being discharged from 24-hour care. Partial hospitalization is most effective for patients who are ready for the therapy and rehabilitation that can move them comfortably back into the community.