North Belknap Inpatient Program

Mental health care when you need it most

Compassionate Short-Term Care

This program serves adults in crisis living with a variety of psychiatric disorders. Your treatment team will work with you and your family to help you achieve your goals.

This work consists of diagnostic assessment, planning, and implementing patient-centered interventions (medications, education, coping skills acquisition, and aftercare planning).

Group therapy is a large component of treatment. Patients are invited to participate in any groups offered on the unit, including art therapy, exercise, cognitive games, sensory activities, discussion groups, and pet therapy. There is a mix of therapy, education, and leisure groups offered each day, led by skilled clinicians of varying backgrounds

McLean Hospital is a research and teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Our program is designed around the full integration of state-of-the-art psychiatric care, empirical research, and clinical education. Patients are approached by a liaison who organizes unit-based research collaboration. Participating in research is completely voluntary. Electing or declining to participate in research studies does not affect clinical care in any way.

Find the care that’s right for you or your loved one. Call us today at 617.855.3141.

Program Leadership

Agustin G. Yip, MD, PhD

Agustin G. Yip, MD, PhD, Medical Director

Dr. Yip was previously associate medical director of the Short Term Unit. His research interests include the optimal design, conduct, analysis, and cumulative synthesis of comparative effectiveness studies of neuromodulation in psychiatry.

Photo of Kayla Huesman, MSN, MHA, RN-BC, CARN

Kayla Huesman, MSN, MHA, RN-BC, CARN, Nurse Director

Ms. Huesman joined the staff in 2021 after working for many years in psychiatric and addiction nursing and nursing professional development. She is a member of the International Nurses Society on Addictions and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). From 2018 to 2020, she served as the Vermont state representative for the New England chapter of the APNA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the program located?

The program is located on the Belmont campus, on the first floor of North Belknap. For more information on directions, parking, and local accommodations, please visit our Maps & Directions page.

What is the length of stay at the program?

The length of stay is dependent on what treatment is being provided. Our average is roughly two weeks.

Are visitors permitted?

Visitors are permitted, following program policies. Visiting hours are 2-8pm, seven days a week.

Please speak to the patient’s treatment team for more information. Additional details can be found on the Visitors page.

Is there access to a phone? Are cellphones and other electronics allowed?

There are two public phones located on the unit, which patients may use to make outgoing calls. The phones are available from 7:30am-11pm. Only patients are allowed to answer these phones. If an individual answers the phone for another patient, they are asked to relay the message. Collect calls are not accepted.

The staff reserves the right to modify phone use to ensure patient safety and allow equal opportunity for others to access the phones. Patients are asked to keep calls to a maximum of 10 minutes so others may utilize the phone. Unit staff assist patients in making outgoing calls. All calls to attorneys are attended to as needed.

Patients may keep their cell phone after signing a consent form agreeing to use their phone in a manner that is appropriate, safe, and respectful of others’ privacy.

Patients may not use the camera/video feature while at the program. This includes phone applications, calls, video chat/conferencing, photographs/videos of oneself or others, etc.

Chargers are not allowed on the unit and are placed in the patient’s belongings bin during their stay. There are charging ports available.

Phones must be turned off during groups and silenced while charging. Please note: Patients are liable for any misuse of their phone.

What precautions are taken regarding restricted Items and sharps?

Safety is taken seriously.

Upon admission, everyone has a doctor’s order for “sharps” supervision. A patient on sharps supervision must be supervised by a staff member while using any items deemed as sharps. This includes, but is not limited to, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, metal spiral notebooks, headphones, etc. Razor usage is always supervised.

Discretion to end or begin sharps supervision is made by the treatment team after safety is assessed. Cords are never allowed on the unit.

What happens when a patient arrives at the program?

Once a patient arrives on the unit, they are assigned a room. Please note that room assignments will change as needed based on clinical priority.

After assessment of the patient’s vital signs and a unit tour, a staff member completes a thorough belongings search in the patient’s presence. Items that are deemed sharps by our trained staff are relocated to a locked sharps closet. These items are returned at the time of discharge.

After initial arrival, patients report to a designated area to complete self-assessments. Patients are asked to complete self- assessments periodically throughout the stay and before discharge. Self-assessments consist of computerized, validated instruments administered to help inform the care patients receive while at the program.

What are the general policies of the program?


To ensure patient safety and the safety of the entire unit, staff do checks around the clock. Staff visually check in on everyone who is at the program for treatment at a minimum of every 15 minutes. This means that a staff member must see that each patient is safe on the unit. If the treatment team is more concerned about an individual’s safety, they may be scheduled for five-minute checks.

Checks are conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a patient is in the shower/bathroom during this time, unit staff will knock on the door. Patients are asked to state their name. Note that staff need to see a patient within five minutes of an initial verbal check.


We ask that patients keep themselves and their rooms in an orderly fashion. In addition, McLean Hospital is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or broken belongings in a patient’s possession.

Fresh linens are available on the unit.

Please do not leave clothes on the floor. Housekeeping can’t move patient belongings to clean.


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served on the unit. After each meal, patients fill out a menu for the next meal. Patients with a food allergy, intolerance, or preference are asked to inform nursing staff.

Please note that after three days (72 hours), all stored food, including personal food, is disposed of by the dietary department even if it is labeled. This is a public health requirement.


To keep our unit clean and pest-free, meals and snacks should only be consumed in the dining area. When patients are finished eating, they are asked to clean up and dispose of all waste in designated receptacles.


The medication window is located across from the nurses station, next to the kitchen. Medications are administered by nursing staff at scheduled times throughout the day. To promote independence, it is expected that patients come to the medication window for their medications.

No personal medications from home may be kept on the unit. Patients who have home medications that they would like to use while an inpatient should discuss this with their treatment team.

Medication times are:

  • Morning: 8-9am
  • Noon: As ordered
  • Afternoon: As ordered
  • Night: 9-10pm


Patients are responsible for washing their personal clothing. Staff is available for those who may need assistance. A laundry room and laundry detergent are available on the unit for patient use between 7:30am and 10pm.

For purposes of infection control, patients are asked not to combine laundry with that of other patients.


We do not allow smoking on or off the unit.

Who is on the treatment team?

The psychiatrist is a physician who is responsible for the overall treatment plan, including prescribing medications and changing levels. Patients meet with their psychiatrist daily.

The social worker works with patients and their families regarding family issues, aftercare planning, and coordination of care with outpatient providers. Patients meet with their social worker daily.

The registered nurse (RN) is responsible for implementing a patient’s overall treatment plan. A nurse works with the patient to plan day-to-day care, provide medication education, administer medication, and evaluate response. A nurse is assigned to a patient on each shift.

The mental health specialist (MHS) meets with patients for daily vital signs, check-ins, and to facilitate access to unit resources. MHS staff act as a liaison between patients and the other members of the treatment team.

The group facilitator runs and coordinates several types of groups on the unit. Group schedules are available to anyone who needs them. Groups are strongly encouraged, as they are a large part of program treatment.

Where can more information be found?

Unit staff are available to answer additional questions. More information may also be found in McLean’s patient guides, including Guide to Arriving at McLean Hospital. Paper copies are available upon request.

Patients may also find this video about our admission process a helpful way to understand how it works. Watch now.

Find Care That’s Right for You

Call us today at 617.855.3141 to learn more about treatment options.