How To Know When Your Loved One Needs Emergency Psychiatric Care

Apr 10, 2023

If you’re concerned your loved one needs emergency psychiatric care consider these warning signs:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Not eating or extreme weight loss
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities like getting dressed, showering, cooking
  • Aggressive behaviors toward others in the home
  • Not able to sleep or excessive sleep for more than a couple days
  • Appears severely anxious or distressed
  • Wandering away from home, not dressed appropriately for the weather
  • Isolating from others

Help is available:

  • The first goal is to safety. Remove any guns from the home, and remove medications aside from a few kept in a medicine box.
  • Do not leave your parent alone for long.
  • Reach out to your loved one’s PCP and ask for an immediate appointment for evaluation and medications
  • Call your loved one’s insurance company and ask for a referral for an emergency psychiatric appointment.
  • Call a behavioral health crisis line and ask for a crisis appointment. If an appointment is not immediately available or your loved one appears worse, bring him or her to the closest hospital emergency department (or nearest hospital with a psychiatric unit) where your loved one will be assessed for contributing medical factors by the medical team, evaluated by a social worker and then placed in the most appropriate available psychiatric unit.