Friday, February 8, 2013

Lack of Community-Based Treatment Options Leads to Involuntary Commitment

For individuals in crisis, involuntary hospitalization can be lifesaving—but also life disrupting. In a study published February 1 in the online Psychiatric Services, researchers from the University of Virginia asked emergency services clinicians throughout Virginia to complete a questionnaire following each face-to-face evaluation of individuals experiencing a mental health crisis over a one-month period in 2007. Data from the more than 2,600 evaluations showed that a lack of intensive community-based alternatives to hospitalization, such as temporary housing and voluntary crisis stabilization, was a significant predictor of the decision to commit. The researchers concluded that "investing in a continuum of crisis stabilization and other intensive outpatient services would reduce the need for involuntary interventions."

Other recent research has shown that temporary detention orders that are 48 hours or shorter are sometimes inadequate to evaluate patients fully after they have suffered a mental health crisis. This can lead to involuntary hospital commitments that can increase stigma and trauma. Read more in Psychiatric News here.
(Image: wavebreakmedia/


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