Drs. Patrice Nicholas and Suellen Breakey offer an overview of how extreme heat and weather, poor air quality, hurricanes, flooding, rising sea levels, and post-disaster health challenges affect our mental health.
Acute Psychiatry Service
Explore This Treatment Program
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
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. Learn more about clinical care and check your eligibility.
Emergency Services: Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST)
Boston Emergency Services Team (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.
- 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:
- Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center, Boston Medical Center
- Eric Lindemann Mental Health Center, Boston Health Care for the Homeless
It is strongly advised that you call the urgent care center prior to your arrival at 800-981-4357.
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.
Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Hotline: 800-327-5050
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
- Patient & Family Resource Center at Mass General
- 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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Pioneering Psychiatry Research
The integration of patient care and clinical research has been a hallmark of the Department of Psychiatry for more than 30 years. Today, the department has the largest clinical research program in the hospital, with studies at the forefront of neuroscience, molecular biology and genetics.