McLean Hospital 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478
This section answers your questions about obtaining treatment at McLean—and what happens after your treatment is finished.
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should go to the hospital.
You may be wondering what exactly will happen while you are a patient at McLean:
Going into a psychiatric hospital does not mean you will never go to college. If you are already enrolled, it does not mean you will not graduate.
Many people are able to transition back to outpatient mental health care. With proper support and treatment, integrating into the college community is possible. The section Real-Life Stories includes a few vignettes of young people who have successfully returned to college after being in a psychiatric hospital.
Whether you are in the hospital voluntarily or against your will, you have rights that will be explained later in this guide.
Also, it is in your best interest to participate in your care, as mental illness treatment is an ongoing process. McLean has special resources to assist college students with school-related issues you may be facing.
Doing well in school may be very important to you. It may be distressing to not be able to get your usual amount of studying done while you are in the hospital. This is all very understandable, but it is important for you to get well. You will be much more productive in your classes once you are stabilized.
Depending on where you are being treated at McLean Hospital, some of the policies will vary. Ask your nurse for the rules and regulations for your specific program.
McLean Hospital is a nonsmoking hospital; smoking is not allowed on any of the units. See a staff member for designated smoking areas outdoors.
The majority (80 to 90%) of people who receive treatment for depression experience significant improvement, and almost all individuals gain some relief from their symptoms. However, if untreated, the symptoms of depression can last months to years. – ulifeline.org
Your treatment team members are listed below. It is important to understand that the team works closely to provide you with the best possible compassionate and effective care. Team members will work together to get to know you as a person and determine your mental health difficulty (your diagnosis), and will work with you to decide on the best treatment plan after discharge. On some inpatient units, you will have a resident psychiatrist in addition to your attending psychiatrist. On units that do not have resident psychiatrists, your attending psychiatrist or psychiatrist in charge (PIC) will be the one to speak with you daily and order your tests and medications.
A faculty psychiatrist will be in charge of your care. He/she will see you regularly and will be kept informed of your progress by other staff.
Resident psychiatrists are medical doctors who are completing their training in psychiatry. Residents will provide your routine psychiatric care. They will see you every weekday and order your medications as well as other tests.
The case management staff works with you to ensure appropriate communication with your family, outside caregivers, and university staff and officials. Case managers will lead your family meetings and will be the primary staff working with you on aftercare plans and follow-up care.
Nurses do more than administer your medications. They are an integral member of the clinical team who help coordinate your care, communicate across different roles on your team, provide counseling and support, and answer many of your questions. A specific nurse will be assigned to your care on a daily basis.
Expressive therapists are master’s-level clinicians who provide both patient and symptom education and therapeutic arts-based groups on the inpatient units. These groups offer valuable opportunities for patients to learn skills, to gain insight, and to connect interpersonally to other group members.
Psychologists are not as active on inpatient units as they are in other areas of the hospital, but they still may play a role in your hospitalization, including conducting testing and group therapy and serving as case managers.
At least one psychiatrist and one medical physician are present on the hospital grounds 24 hours per day, seven days per week. On weekends and holidays, a “rounder” or covering psychiatrist briefly meets with every patient on the unit. A social worker is also available if you are admitted on a weekend. In addition to all the professionals listed above, you may be seen by consulting physicians about medical problems you may have. You may also have a medical student working on your treatment team and involved in your care.
If you are feeling up to it, you might want friends and family to visit you. Of course, you do not have to invite visitors if you are not comfortable. You also have the right to refuse visitors. Sometimes visitors can only come to the hospital during a certain time because of work, family, or other obligations. Visitors who need to come outside of regular visiting hours should call the nursing station.
Visitors can also bring items you might want or need to make you more comfortable during your stay. You might ask visitors to bring:
Be sure to remember that some items are not allowed on the unit for safety and privacy reasons. These include:
Check with your nurse if you are not sure about what is or is not allowed.
It is important to know your rights as a patient and use all the available resources at McLean to help yourself feel better. You will receive a copy of your patient rights when you are admitted to McLean. Take time to talk to your treatment team if you have any questions.
In 2008, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a national legal advocacy organization representing people with mental health disabilities, published an important document: Campus Mental Health: Know Your Rights!
This guide for college and university students will help you understand your legal rights when seeking mental health services. It also explains what you can expect in your interactions with mental health service providers and what obligations you might have.
Your identity and personal information is protected by McLean policies and federal law.
You may obtain a copy of your medical records by submitting a written request to McLean’s Health Information Management Department.
All communication with your treatment team is strictly confidential. This means unless you give permission, no one at McLean can disclose information about your treatment to your school, your friends, or even your family.
It is your choice whether to participate in a McLean research study. McLean is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. This means that during and after your stay, you will have the opportunity to participate in research studies and interviews, if you chose to do so.
For more information about patient confidentiality, visit McLean’s privacy page.
People come to McLean Hospital in all stages of recovery. You may already have one or more psychiatric diagnoses or an idea of what is going on with you. Conversely, you may not have any prior mental health issues. While you are in the hospital you will see a psychiatrist regularly, so it could be helpful to write down your concerns. Nurses will also be available at all times to answer your questions about your diagnosis.
It can be helpful to organize your thoughts about your goals:
It can be especially anxiety-provoking to call family and friends after being in the hospital. To guide the conversation, jot down your thoughts before making the call.
After the conversation:
Once you are feeling better and your treatment team agrees that you are well enough to be discharged from the hospital, there are a few last-minute things you must do:
Once you leave the hospital, you may feel overwhelmed with a lot of things to do. However, it is important to take care of yourself and take everything slowly. Plan things out ahead of time so you are not overwhelmed by the amount of course work and exams to make up.
Step 1. List your courses and each professor’s contact information.
Step 2. Call/email each professor to schedule an appointment. You might feel more comfortable talking to your professors if you plan what to say.
Remember: When you meet with your professor, you do not have to provide information about your condition. You will have a note from the hospital saying you were there, but it will not include any information about your condition or the reason why you were there. Your records are completely private and can be shared only with your permission.
Step 3. Make a professor meeting form. Be sure to include:
Remember: If you run into any problems with professors, contact the dean’s office or disability services at your school.