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