Demystifying Psychiatric Hospitalization

What We Know

  • 1 in 5 youth ages 13 – 18 have or will have a serious mental illness
  • 50% of all life-time cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14
  • Almost 80% of youth with mental illness do not receive treatment
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth aged 15 – 24
  • 90% of those who committed suicide had an underlying mental illness
  • Rate of psychiatric hospitalization for youth are on the rise – nearly 10% of pediatric hospitalizations across the US were for a primary mental health diagnosis in 2009

Common reasons for psychiatric hospitalizations (inpatient psychiatric treatment) in youth include:

  • worsening mood symptoms, commonly depressive symptoms
  • suicidal thoughts, suicidal acts, suicide attempts – cutting, attempting to overdose on medications, attempted hanging, use of firearms
  • violence and aggression
  • psychotic symptoms – hearing voices, seeing shadows/figures, paranoia
  • child fails to adequately manage his or her symptoms and behaviors safely within the community (school, family/home)

Many young people I treat have been or end up being admitted to a psychiatric facility, a frightening prospect for both the child and the parents. The Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders” penned an excellent blogpost about what to expect when your child is psychiatrically hospitalized from a parent’s perspective.  This post is well-written and quite informative, so I am sharing it here.  Feel free to post any comments or questions you might have – I am happy to respond.

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