Behavioral Health Services
When faced with a behavioral health emergency, time is vital to ensure you receive the appropriate level of care, during the crisis and in the future.
UPMC Mercy offers behavioral health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our goal is to help people with mental illness, intellectual disability, and addiction issues thrive in their communities.
Emergency Behavioral Health Services
Behavioral health patients can access emergency services, on a walk-in basis, at the Evaluation and Referral Center (ERC) in UPMC Mercy's Emergency Department.
Some patients are referred to the ERC by:
- An outpatient or other health care provider
- A family member
- The police
- An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professional
- A mobile crisis team clinician
The ERC assesses the individual in crisis and, based on the information obtained during the assessment, recommends the appropriate level of care and placement for services.
After being evaluated by a UPMC Mercy clinician, patients may be:
- Admitted to an inpatient facility
- Referred to an outpatient program
- Referred to a diversion and acute stabilization program, in conjunction with outpatient services
Psychiatric, dual-diagnosed patients and those suffering with addictions can receive:
- Inpatient psychiatric or drug and alcohol consultation
- Resource coordination
- Crisis intervention
Individuals who require inpatient care will be admitted to the unit that is most appropriate for their health care needs:
- Adult Behavioral Health Unit: This licensed, 24-bed unit is for voluntarily and involuntarily committed patients, 18 years old and older, who are identified to be in crisis. Patients on this unit may be experiencing symptoms associated with mood or thought disorders.
- Dual Diagnosis Unit: This licensed, 10-bed unit is for voluntarily and involuntarily committed patients, 18 years old and older, who require the program and structure to deal with mental health issues and substance abuse problems.
Inpatient Treatment and Care
Each of UPMC Mercy’s inpatient units has a specific program that allows for individual, group, and family therapy and education by a multidisciplinary group of trained staff.
Patients are encouraged to participate in:
- The development and ongoing revisions of their treatment plan, to ensure that identified goals are met
- All therapeutic programs, to which they have been assigned, to work toward individual goal attainment
Medical care on the unit is coordinated by a physician.
Primary care physicians (PCPs) may participate in medical treatment, if they are on staff at UPMC Mercy. If the PCP is not on staff, the patient will have to sign a release to ensure that continuity can be provided between health care practitioners.
The psychiatrist serves as the attending physician.
Psychiatrists see each patient daily and make decisions for:
- Medication therapy
- Continued inpatient treatment
- Another appropriate level of care
Transitioning to Outpatient Care
Discharge planning will help identify the best outpatient program to provide ongoing services after the immediate crisis has been resolved.
The discharge planning process is initiated at the time of admission so that social services staff can determine what services need to be in place for a successful transition.
The Addiction Medicine Program at UPMC Mercy
The Addiction Medicine Program at UPMC Mercy, is an 18-bed, medically supervised detoxification program. It safely and successfully treats patients who are physiologically dependent on alcohol or drugs, and withdraws them from those substances under the supervision of specially certified physicians, nurses, counselors, and social workers.
Detoxification treatment includes:
- A full assessment of medical, psychiatric, and addiction disorders
- The use of appropriate medications and counseling to complete the initial process of detoxification
- Specific referrals for each patient to attend post-detoxification addiction treatment
Initial assessments are performed in the ERC or on inpatient units. Admission is based on meeting specific criteria.