Treatment Programs

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Acute Psychiatry Service (APS)

Located within the Massachusetts General Hospital Emergency Department, the Acute Psychiatry Service addresses acute psychiatric, neuropsychiatric and substance-abuse emergencies in children and adults.

Our Approach

Through the Acute Psychiatry Service (APS), the Mass General Department of Psychiatry has provided consultation to emergency patients since the 1950s. With our 24-hour service, we are equipped to handle psychiatric emergencies around the clock and typically see 6,000 patients a year.

Our Goals: Stabilization & Referral

We focus solely on patients with emergency psychiatric conditions. Our main objectives are to stabilize the individual and then refer him or her to appropriate follow-up treatment, either within Mass General or elsewhere.

The APS is staffed by attending psychiatrists with expertise spanning many areas, including addiction treatment, child psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. Our multidisciplinary team also comprises the following professionals, who help our psychiatrists to assess and determine the best treatment plan for each patient:

  • Psychiatric residents
  • Psychologists
  • Psychology interns
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry fellows
  • Social workers
  • Case managers
  • Security personnel

Felicia Smith, MD, has directed our program since 2008. Dr. Smith trained in adult psychiatry at Mass General, McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and completed a fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at Mass General. Her clinical and research interests center on the interface between medicine and psychiatry.

Education & Research Efforts

As part of one of the country's premier academic psychiatry departments, the APS is committed to excellence in clinical care, education and research.

We serve as one of the key training sites for the Mass General-McLean Psychiatry Residency Program. In addition, students from Harvard Medical School and beyond undertake their advanced rotations here. As a result, patients are evaluated by world-class attending psychiatrists along with the best and brightest from the next generation in the field.

What to Expect

Please be aware that we are unable to provide treatment by phone or by appointment. All care takes place on a face-to-face basis in our dedicated area within the Emergency Department.

Due to the high volume of emergency patients at Mass General, we encourage you to access other resources if you do not need emergency psychiatric care. You may also contact Outpatient Psychiatric Services at 617-724-7792.

Adjustment Disorders

An adjustment disorder is defined as an emotional or behavioral reaction to an identifiable stressful event or change in a person's life that is considered maladaptive or somehow not an expected, healthy response to the event or change.

Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD, also called attention-deficit disorder, is a behavior disorder, usually first diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity.

Behavior Disorders

Behavior disorders include mental health problems with a focus on behaviors that both identify emotional problems and create interpersonal and social problems for children and adolescents in the course of their development.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is an illness that resembles bulimia nervosa and is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa, also called “bulimia,” is uncontrolled episodes of overeating, usually followed by self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, or medications to control weight.

Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder is a behavior disorder, sometimes diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by antisocial behaviors which violate the rights of others and age-appropriate social standards and rules.

Depression

A depressive disorder is a whole-body illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts, and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things.

Dysthymia

Dysthymia, also known as dysthymic disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder (also called mood disorder) that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression.

Eating Disorders

The term eating disorders refers to a variety of disorders. The common feature of all the eating disorders is abnormal eating behaviors. Eating disorders are serious mental health problems and can be life threatening.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes its sufferers chronic and exaggerated worry and tension that seem to have no substantial cause.

Major Depression

Major depression, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.

Manic Depression / Bipolar Disorder

Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.

Obesity

Obesity increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an unreasonable thought, fear, or worry that he or she tries to manage through a ritualized activity to reduce the anxiety.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder, usually diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by uncooperative, defiant, negativistic, irritable, and annoying behaviors toward parents, peers, teachers, and other authority figures.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by chronic, repeated, and unexpected panic attacks - bouts of overwhelming fear of being in danger when there is no specific cause for the fear

Personality Disorders

Persons with a personality disorder display more rigid and maladaptive thinking and reacting behaviors that often disrupt their personal, professional, and social lives.

Phobias

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a phobia is an uncontrollable, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that often follows a terrifying physical or emotional event - causing the person who survived the event to have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories, or flashbacks, of the ordeal.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is one of the most complex of all mental health disorders. It involves a severe, chronic, and disabling disturbance of the brain.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a mood disorder characterized by depression related to a certain season of the year - especially winter.

Substance Abuse / Chemical Dependency

There are three different terms used to define substance-related disorders, including substance abuse, substance dependence, and chemical dependence.

Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST) - 1-800-981-HELP

The Boston Emergency Services Team, under the leadership of Boston Medical Center and with the support of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, provides 24-hour service for adults and children in need of immediate psychiatric intervention. Individuals who need emergency care are assessed and briefly treated by experienced, master’s level clinicians and physicians who specialize in rapid response to those in psychiatric crisis. B.E.S.T. provides a comprehensive, highly integrated system of crisis evaluation to children, adolescents, adults, including the elderly, the homeless, mentally ill and the multi-cultural populations within the Metro Boston areas.

This toll-free number can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By using the 1-800-981-HELP helpline, a caller is assisted in dealing with a psychiatric, crisis support, information and referrals. The caller may be directed to a B.E.S.T. Urgent Care Center, a Designated Emergency Department, or a crisis intervention mobile team may be dispatched to the site of the crisis. If you or someone in your family is in crisis, consider calling the 1-800 number for guidance. They may suggest useful alternatives to the Emergency Department.

What we offer:

  • Immediate information & referrals
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Crisis intervention and treatment (including psychopharmacology)
  • 12-bed short term Crisis Stabilization Unit (up to 3-5 day stay)
  • Referral for ongoing treatment

Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Hotline - 1-800-327-5050

The Urgent Care Centers

Urgent Care Centers are located at the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center at Boston Medical Center and at the Eric Lindemann Mental Health Center. Crisis evaluations that do not require the medical support of a hospital Emergency Department are performed at these sites. The Urgent Care Center also provides short-term crisis treatment, including psychopharmacology support. The Urgent Care Center accepts walk-in clients and serves both children and adults. When needed, the Urgent Care Center will dispatch a mobile crisis team to a site in the community.

The benefits to using the Urgent Care Center are that patients will be seen in a timely fashion and in comfortable surroundings.

The Urgent Care Center is located at the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Building, 85 E. Newton Street, Boston. It is open from 7am-11pm.

It is strongly advised that prior to arrival to Urgent Care Center the Call Center be contacted at 1-800-981-4357.

Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU)

This 12-bed unit serves children, adolescents and adults. It operates 24-hours/day as an alternative to inpatient hospitalization. The CSU is staffed by Registered Nurses and Mental Health Counselors. Medical Staff provides daily contacts to clients and provide 24-hour coverage.

 

Suicide Resources

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Madi Resource Center at MGH

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

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75th Anniversary: Dept. of Psychiatry

Symposium celebrating the 75th anniversary of the MGH Dept. of Psychiatry

Acute Psychiatry Service

MGH Emergency Dept.
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes


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