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  • Sabaa Afzal, LPC

When Should I Take My Child to a Behavioral Health Hospital?

For parents of children who self-harm or express suicidal thoughts. 


My heart sinks every time I hear a child expressing suicidal ideation. Inpatient psychiatric facilities can be necessary in certain situations. Oftentimes, however, parents are pressured by caseworkers to admit their child into the hospital for up to ten days. If parents are unhappy with care and request a release of their child, they are asked to sign an “against medical advice” form, which takes 24-hours to be processed. They can also be threatened with court or CPS if they do not "comply".

If your child exhibits these warning signs immediately call a mental health professional for further evaluation:

  • Being sad or mad for no apparent reason

  • Thoughts of being a bad person

  • Saying "the world would be better off" without them