Acute Psychiatry Service

The Acute Psychiatry Service, located within the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, addresses acute psychiatric, neuropsychiatric and substance-use emergencies in children and adults.
Boston Emergency Services Team

Contact the Boston Emergency Services Team 800-981-4357

Overview

The Acute Psychiatry Service (APS) in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital has provided consultation to emergency patients since the 1950s. Our service is equipped to handle psychiatric emergencies around the clock and we typically see more than 6,000 patients a year.

The Mass General Emergency Department also serves as one of three designated hospital emergency departments for the Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST).

Our main objective when providing consultations is to stabilize the individual and then refer him or her for appropriate follow-up treatment, either within Mass General or elsewhere.

The APS is staffed by attending psychiatrists with expertise that includes addiction treatment, child psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. Our multidisciplinary team also includes other professionals who help assess and determine the best treatment plan for each patient:

  • Psychiatric residents
  • Psychology interns
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Child & adolescent psychiatry fellows
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Social workers
  • Security personnel

The APS is led by director Suzanne Bird, MD, with Curtis Wittmann, MD, and Abigail Donovan, MD, serving as associate directors.

Treatment at the Acute Psychiatry Service

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

PLEASE NOTE: 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 Mass General's Outpatient Psychiatric Services at 617-724-7792.

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, so patients are evaluated by world-class attending psychiatrists, along with the best and brightest from the next generation in the field.

 

Emergency Services

Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST)

BEST sends mobile crisis clinicians to homes, schools, outpatient clinics and other community locations.

Lead Agency: Boston Medical Center
Partners:
Massachusetts General Hospital, Bay Cove Human Services and North Suffolk Mental Health Association

BEST provides 24-hour response to adults and youth in need of crisis intervention for mental health and substance use concerns. The BEST team is made up of experienced, master’s-level clinicians, psychiatrists, family partners, certified peer specialists, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses and mental health workers.

How to Access BEST

Phone: 800-981-HELP (800-981-4357)

The BEST toll-free number can be used 24 hours a day to initiate services. Call center clinicians provide information and referral options or arrange an in-person evaluation. BEST was created to serve people with no insurance or with Mass Health, however, more commercial insurances are starting to support mobile/urgent care emergency services.

Please call BEST to find out whether your insurance covers our services.

BEST Services

  • Immediate information & referrals
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Peer-to-peer support
  • Referrals for ongoing treatment
  • Crisis intervention and treatment (including psychopharmacology)
  • Short-term community crisis stabilization

Mobile Crisis Intervention

Mobile Crisis Intervention (known as MCI) is the youth-serving component of BEST (serving patients under the age 21). MCI provides up to seven days of crisis intervention services that include mobile, onsite, face-to-face therapeutic response to youth and family caregivers experiencing a behavioral health crisis. MCI identifies the problems involved, assesses needs and begins to treat and stabilize the situation in order to reduce immediate risk of danger to youth or others.

Community Crisis Stabilization Units (CCS)

The adult Community Crisis Stabilization program serves patient 18 years and older, providing short-term crisis intervention over a three-to-five-day stay. The CCS can be a successful alternative to inpatient hospitalization, providing a safe, staff-secured treatment program.

Urgent Care Centers

In addition to the hospitals, BEST includes a number of associated urgent care centers. These urgent care centers offer a timely and convenient option for patients who need an office-based evaluation. These centers are located at:

It is strongly advised that you call the urgent care center prior to your arrival at 800-981-4357.

 

Resources

Boston Emergency Services Team

Contact the Boston Emergency Services Team 800-981-4357

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