Inpatient Acute Care

Hospitalization for short-term mental health care

Behavioral Health Inpatient Care 600×375

Hospitalization for short-term mental health care

Sometimes, people suffering from acute psychiatric disorders are unable to live independently or may even pose a danger to themselves or others. In such cases, hospitalization may be the most appropriate alternative.

Scripps Health offers an acute care inpatient program at Scripps Mercy Hospital (San Diego and Chula Vista). This program helps patients and their loved ones work through short-term crises, manage mental illness and resume their daily lives.

Admission requirements

In order to access our Behavioral Health inpatient program, patients are required to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a primary psychiatric diagnosis
  • Be medically stable

Patients must be referred to the inpatient program by one of the following:

  • Their psychiatrist
  • Their primary care physician
  • The Scripps Psychiatric Liaison Team through the emergency department

Patients who are eligible and meet admission criteria will be medically cleared in our emergency department and admitted to the psychiatric unit by a psychiatrist.


  • Evaluation and treatment by a psychiatrist
  • Psychopharmacological interventions
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Activity therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Symptom management
  • Medication awareness
  • Coping skills

Treatment goals

  • Resolving issues
  • Reducing the risk of dangerous behavior
  • Alleviating the symptoms that led to hospitalization
  • Increasing coping skills to live more effectively in the community

Planning for discharge and beyond

When acute inpatient treatment goals are met, our staff develops a discharge plan closely integrated with community services to encourage ongoing care and help patients return to their families and communities. When the patient is ready to return to the community, we offer the following continuing care services:

  • Social worker-assisted placements in long-term residential or short-term crisis housing, board and care, and skilled nursing facilities
  • Services and referrals for chemical dependency, psychiatric and medical home health nursing
  • Referrals to licensed professionals
  • Referrals for continuing care
  • Referrals to community support groups