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What to expect if your loved one will spend time in a Maine psychiatric hospital or other facility


Maine psychiatric hospitals or other mental health facilities may be the best answer for a loved one in crisis.

There may be times when your loved one needs specialized care, and a psychiatric hospital is the best place for that care. Maine psychiatric hospitals (and mental health facilities in general) have come a long way… so try not to be concerned with unfair and inaccurate media stereotypes that can make it scary to think about having someone you love in a psychiatric hospital.

Maine psychiatric hospitals are professionally run and are committed to high standards of care and treatment for their patients.

Keep in Mind…

  • Many Maine psychiatric hospitals concentrate on stabilizing a patient, then releasing him/her. This means your loved one will not be “cured” when he/she leaves the hospital, or even treated beyond crisis stabilization. In many cases, the hospital is serving as a safe place during the crisis, but it’s not a long-term solution. This means when your loved one is released, he/she can still be acutely ill and symptomatic to one degree or another.
  • The hospital team will provide a discharge plan while the patient is in the hospital. The hospital’s goal is to provide short-term, stabilizing care, combined with a recommended discharge plan for treatment and other follow-up care for the patient.

    It’s important for the family to be a part of discharge planning.

    This is usually automatic for children and teenagers under 18, but for adults, permission from the patient must be given for you to participate in the discharge planning. You can always call the hospital and speak to your loved one’s social worker. He/she may be able to speak to your loved one on your behalf, with the goal of getting that permission.

  • Involuntary hospitalization may need to occur. Involuntary hospitalization in Maine (also known as “blue paper”), is a process that may end up with your loved one having to go to a psychiatric hospital. A person may not be involuntarily hospitalized for more than 3 days. During that time, he/she will be evaluated to make sure there’s no substantial risk of harm to them or to others, or there’s no longer a reasonable certainty that the person will suffer severe physical or mental injury or impairment. To learn more, visit Spring Harbor Hospital – Frequently Asked Questions about Involuntary Hospitalization.If your loved one was brought to the hospital involuntarily, he/she may be very angry with you thinking you were the one that “put me there.” When they are so angry, it can be scary. There are two things to remember:                                                                                                                                                                                        1. It can be devastating when your loved one is so mean, but try not to take it personally. At these times, the illness may be firmly in charge and it’s the one doing the talking, and
    2. When the illness is dominating your loved one’s personality, it’s important to take your safety seriously.

IMPORTANT! If you have any doubts about what qualifies as a threat, or you feel you may be in danger:

Call 911!  Remember to tell them this could be a mental health emergency.
Call the Maine Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-1112. They’re trained to help you through difficult situations and will be able to give you information about support groups for yourself.

  • When people with mental illness leave the hospital, they may still be acutely ill. Your loved one may have experienced a trauma to the brain and while you can’t see it, it’s still there. People who have experienced a major episode of mental illness need time to recuperate. Let your loved one rest. Be as kind and compassionate as you can. The brain has been through a major trauma and needs time to recover.

Words of Hope

" Changes in how we understand, care for, and nourish anyone who is ill, begin with the language we use when we speak of them."
- NB


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Scarborough, ME 04070-1385




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Family Hope is Maine's resource for finding mental health services. We do not endorse any one program or organization. Our mission is to connect you to options, saving you time and frustration.
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