When it is Time to go to the Hospital: 11 Steps to Take Before Admission

Semi-Surreal self portrait in Lavender
Self Portrait in Lavender

This post is specific to people with Dissociative and other Trauma
related disorders.

Some of this information may not apply to you.

I don’t do well in mental health settings.

I don’t look sick.

I don’t look like a ‘mental patient’.

And I expect my treatment providers to be as passionate as I was when
I worked in mental health.

If you have what most people still call multiple personality disorder and
you are about to enter treatment at a Behavioral Health facility it’s a good
idea to prepare.


Don’t assume that behavioral health professionals are trained psychotherapists. Psychotherapy treats the mind. Behavioral Health
treats targeted behaviors.


stand up against stigma, no health without mental health
Stand up against stigma


If your primary treatment provider is an outside therapist, ask him or
her to communicate your treatment status and history to the facility.


Confirm that the counselors at the treatment facility have spoken to
your primary therapist when you arrive for your first day.


Ask if the staff knows how to treat trauma symptoms.


Do not enable staff ignorance; you have every right to expect your treatment providers to know what they’re treating and to know how to treat it. Speak to the attending psychiatrist if you have concerns. If that fails, make use of grievance procedures to get the most out of your treatment.


Do treat the staff with respect and consideration. Most people want to do a good job.

Do tell the staff about suicidal thoughts or self-destructive alternates.

Discuss your physical health and if one is needed, ask for a physical.


If you are diabetic or have high blood pressure, ask the staff to monitor your blood pressure and sugar levels. Diabetes and high blood pressure affect mood.


Ask for a medication assessment.  Mention all unusual side
effects or problems.


Don’t enter a hospital or day clinic alone. Ask your partner and
friends to call and ask about your progress.  Make sure that you sign
the releases the clinic needs to discuss your case with friends and

More reading:


Advocacy for mental health: roles for consumer and family organizations and governments

The Importance of Self-Advocacy in Mental Health Recovery

The Self Advocacy Toolkit


11 thoughts on “When it is Time to go to the Hospital: 11 Steps to Take Before Admission

    1. Yes, it is. I’m in intensive out patient treatment which is a step down from being ‘in’ the hospital.

      I go to a Kaiser Clinic three days a week and see my therapist on the off days.

      I feel like I’m finding my way through this–it takes time.

      I feel a dozen different ways all at once so it’s a bit overwhelming.


  1. This is a VERY important reminder and tool for anyone who has or will experience this or the loved one of someone who does. I related to this especially, the idea that we should not assume a mental health professional is always as proficient as we may wish for, I have heard too many times of bad calls especially in the ER where people have been put on really dangerous medications and misdiagnosed. Being as ‘together’ when we are not together, may seem impossible but it’s also something we often do – the other thing is the idea of ‘not looking sick’ that’s very true. I find I’m often told ‘oh you don’t look like anything is wrong’ I want to say something clever like oh what is a sick person supposed to look like? but I usually just clam up. Thanks a lot for posting this my friend

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      The stigma against people with chronic mental health conditions is thickest in the behavioral health system which is as much an economic model as it is a set of treatment approaches.

      Behavioral Health Systems prefer relatively healthy people with easy to solve problems related to temporary life adversity.

      One can think one’s way out of believing that one are a loser because one was ‘downsized’ out of a job.

      It’s much harder to cope with getting fired because you have a chronic form of Schizophrenia and stopped taking your meds because you lost insight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. My second cousin has Schizophrenia I totally agree w/u. Stigma kills more than mental disease ever could. And having worked in that setting I saw so many UNcaring people in it I could not believe what I was seeing. You are so right. They definitely believe mental illness is somehow a choice. It drives me crazy. I am thinking of you today, your sister is somewhere above us, glad for your love of her, and she hears all your heart says to her, I really believe this.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Definitely. Like with feminism. It couldn’t stand for equality. The black women got mad with the white, the transgender with the non transgender, the upper class with the lower class, the mothers from the non mothers, the gays from the straights. Good grief. If we KNEW the power of standing together we actually could do more or less ANYTHING and completely change the world but we’re so indoctrinated to compete and compare.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Totally true. And legal concepts are foul because they are ‘controlled’ so basically our ‘truth’ is open to the interpretation and control of those who are chosen to make the decisions for us all. NOT representing our interests 😦


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