If you are advised to be hospitalized for a mental health emergency, your successful treatment will start with a complete and accurate assessment.
Once you are stabilized, you’ll be placed in inpatient or outpatient therapy. This helpful Guide to Hospitalization can help you better understand your options.
There are often misconceptions in the RISD community about what circumstances might result in a student being hospitalized for mental health treatment. Please be aware that almost all hospitalizations are completely voluntary, and we consider it the very last resort to protect your safety. Reasons we might suggest hospitalization include:
You cannot be involuntarily hospitalized for mild thoughts of suicide. If you are having mild to moderate suicidal thoughts, we hope you will feel completely safe sharing them with your counselor. This is one of the best ways to prevent a thought from becoming something more serious. If you are having severe suicidal thoughts or thoughts with a plan, we may need to take further steps to keep you safe.
If you and your counselor decide that it is best for you to be screened at a hospital, or you decide to seek emergency services yourself, here is what you can expect to happen:
How long will my initial evaluation at the hospital take?
This varies depending on your treatment team’s availability when you arrive. In general, the entire process will take somewhere between 3-8 hours. You can ask a nurse for an estimated timeline.
If I’m admitted to the hospital, how long will I stay there?
That depends on your needs. Some students stay for 1-2 days, while others stay a week or more. You will be discharged once your symptoms have been stabilized and you are able to cope safely outside of the hospital. You can ask your treatment providers for an estimated discharge date.
Will my parents know I’ve gone to the hospital?
Generally, when you are 18 or older, any mental health treatment you receive is confidential. However, if your health insurance plan is through your family, your parents might receive mail with basic information about your hospitalization, such as the hospital name, type of hospitalization, and dates. Depending on the circumstances, RISD may reach out to your emergency contact about your hospitalization.
I’m worried about missing classes while I’m in the hospital – what should I do?
Have a member of your treatment team contact CAPS at 401-454-6637. We can arrange for Student Affairs to notify your professors of any expected absences.
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask a staff member!
United Healthcare Student Resources
(the health insurance plan offered through RISD)
Local Hospital Patient Information Lines:
If you do not meet the severity to warrant an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, a partial hospitalization may be recommended. These usually involve going to the hospital for 6 hours a day, for approximately 1 week, to receive intensive treatment, without having to stay overnight.
Partial hospitalization programs at Butler Hospital include the following programs:
Rhode Island Hospital also offers the following partial programs:
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday
Please call during business hours to schedule an appointment.
8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Use RISD’s on-demand, door-to-door transportation service.