Back from the Hospital: Best Practices and Common Problems

Colleges and universities must often work with students who are hospitalized due to psychiatric issues, first pre-hospitalization, and later as they prepare to return to campus. Students may agree to a voluntary hospitalization following a private or a public and disruptive suicide attempt. An involuntary commitment may result from a suicide attempt, for doing or attempting harm to others, or due to an inability to care for themselves. Regardless of whether a hospitalization is voluntary or involuntary, this process is one fraught with challenges related to ensuring fairness, equity, and compliance with federal standards while also ensuring the safety of the individual and the campus community.

Here, we’ll cover some common missteps that institutions tend to make when dealing with students who are suicidal or experiencing some psychological crisis and are in need of hospitalization, as well as some best practices for helping students to return to campus following a hospitalization.

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