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Voluntary Admission - What to expect

Community Member

Hi all

I have had quite a few private admissions at a specific clinic and thought I'd share some hints.

Your GP can refer you to a clinic, but one of the psychiatrists with admitting rights must agree to take you on.

Once you have a psychiatrist who can admit you, you will be contacted by intake at the hospital. They do a brief history and risk assessment and check how you plan to pay for the admission.

Once you arrive at the hospital, you will be required to fill in a variety of forms (details, mood evaluation, fund forms, privacy).

You are then met by your nurse who shows you to your room. They conduct a bags search, take medication and any items not allowed to be held onto by you. You are then interviewed by the nurse who does a history and asks why you have come in. You work on goals for your stay such as stabilising mood, attending groups, improving sleep etc they will also take your observations, such as temperature, blood pressure, height and weight.

You then get a tour of the hospital. Important things to look for include coffee making facilities, lounges and which courtyard most patients congregate to.

You then will see your psychiatrist who will work out a plan in terms of medication but they will also spend a bit of time getting to know what brings you in and makes a clinical assessment of condition and symptoms.

After this day, you settle in and go to meals etc

During the week there are group therapy classes run. These might be supportive therapy which is where everyone tries to help each other through their difficulties together, it might be a more formalised structure where you learn about the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, learning about distress tolerance or it might be mindfulness. There are usually classes about what to do when you leave, so about outpatient programs and supports. My hospital also has sessions run by people with lived experience which is helpful advice.

There is also an art room which is very busy with lots of materials. People can do whatever they like and some art produced is amazing.

There will be some exercise groups like yoga and Pilates and if you have leave you can go with a group for a walk.

Your psychiatrist will see you most weekdays and monitor your progress. They can refer you to psychologists and dietitians.

Nurses will see you twice a day for a chat but also observe you on the ward.

My biggest piece of advice is to chat to other patients. I've played uno before.

16 Replies 16

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

My goodness! My admission to a public mental health centre was nothing like this!

Oh, to be able to afford private health cover!

Community Member

Hi Little Cavvie,

this has pretty much been my experience too. We also had music therapy once a week which was incredibly helpful for me. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to afford (through insurance) such a high level of care. I have also spent time in the public system in a very run down old unit that has since been rebuilt thankfully. How anyone there could hope to get better I don't know.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
What was admission like in a public centre? I can't afford private and my mum won't help

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey sum sum,

I was in the PECC unit of a public hospital for 3 days but the admission process was the same. Paperwork, questions from a nurse ti determine whether I could leave or talk to a psychiatrist, then a session with the Psychiatrist to determine whether I could leave or stay, then taken to the ward where each day I'd have one or two talks to the psychiatrist otherwise do my own thing

The psych gave me sheets to do but I wasn't allowed to leave because I hadn't been in for long. others who had and were in the other psych ward said they got time but not much at all. pretty boring because we only had a TV with limited channels. food was rubbish too

Community Champion
Community Champion
That all said, the people were nice and I had 5 others in the unit. two wanted to talk so we watched a bunch of movies together and one of their sisters brought pizza for us. in all honesty, it was nice just chilling out with them even if the place was a bit bare. you certainly feel safe there.

Hi Sum Sum,

Welcome to the community here at Beyond Blue.

If you need the help, then I do highly suggest that you try to get into a centre.

Have you had a chat with your Dr to see what he or she recommends?

I made it to the Mental Health Unit thanks to a distress call I made to Life Line. The ambulance people came to the house and took me to the hospital. From there I was transferred to the Mental Health Unit.

Last year I had another breakdown, so my Dr. placed me in the local hospital for two weeks so I could have a rest and be monitored. That worked okay for me.

Part of me wanted to go to a clinic, but that didn't happen.

Do you have a psychiatrist or psychologist at present?

Hope you are able to get the help you need.

Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools

Community Member

How much does it cost?
I have always thought that I could perhaps benefit from a short stay.
However, I would not consider myself to be severely depressed or anxious. However, when a negative event happens I fall hard.

Why would you go to a place like that voluntarily? They are not nice places, Why would you go voluntarily???

What do you expect them to do for you? They medicate and discharge.

In private hospital its very similar but in a pretty packaging. There is much more to do. But the treatment is the same - medicate and discharge. Some low level therapy but nothing deep enough to make any long term change in a group setting.

What do you hope to gain? There is far more to lose if you have not yet been exposed.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi CheeseSlices,

I'm sorry to hear you don't really like hospital admissions, but I think it's best that others can form their own judgments because hospitals are there for a particular purpose.

It is true that long term change does not occur in hospitals, but that is not the purpose of a hospital admission.

The purpose is to be in a safe place at times of crisis, until such time that the crisis has passed and the person can hopefully seek long term treatment. It is important that we recognise hospitals as just one part of the entire mental health support network, and they are very good at keeping people safe in that crisis point.

MisterM - I'm not sure to be honest. I was in a public hospital and I just gave them my medicare card so I wasn't charged. I guess it was bulk billed?