Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Patients in Emergency Settings


Individuals with exacerbations of mental illness come to emergency departments for immediate treatment. The therapeutic management of mental health patients in the emergency department presents some unique and complex issues. There is not a defined set of diagnostic tests that can be ordered to determine the course of their care and many facilities no longer have on-site mental health services. The following resources are provided in order to assist emergency departments to improve the clinical services for mental health patients that present to the emergency department.


  • White Paper: Care of the Psychiatric Patient in the Emergency Department
  • Care of Behavioral Health Patients - (02/2015)
    Emergency department care providers are challenged daily with caring for behavioral health patients across the lifespan. In 2013, the Emergency Nurses Association published a white paper entitled Care of the Psychiatric Patient in the Emergency Department that identified best practices and gaps in caring for the behavioral health patient in the ED. The purpose of this topic brief is to summarize the findings of this white paper.