We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Psychiatric Hold?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A psychiatric hold is the detainment of a person in a hospital or mental health facility, often against his will. Usually, these holds occur because the party involved is considered to be dangerous to himself or others; they may also occur when a psychiatrist believes a patient is suffering a severe mental disability. For example, a person who enters a hospital and mentions suicidal thoughts may be detained for evaluation and treatment. This type of hold is most often placed on a person who has entered a facility involuntarily, but may also be used for a person who entered of his own will.

An individual can enter a hospital or mental health facility to voluntarily seek help. For example, he may do so because he is depressed, fearful, or struggling with alcoholism. He might think he needs treatment as an outpatient but learn that the facility's doctors believe he needs inpatient evaluation and treatment. In such a case, the facility may place a psychiatric hold on the patient, requiring him to remain in the facility for a minimum amount of time.

More often, a person is placed under a psychiatric hold as an involuntarily commitment. This can be because a family member or doctor has witnessed troubling behavior or as a result of a law-enforcement incident. Each jurisdiction may have a different procedure one must follow to commit an adult, but some sort of evidence is usually required. A court's approval is usually required when a person wants to commit a member of his family.

In most places, a psychiatric hold isn't something that is taken lightly. In order to detain a person against his will, a psychiatrist must believe that the person represents an immediate threat to himself or others. For example, if he is likely to commit suicide or kill another person, this might prove reason enough to detain him. Likewise, if a person's mental health problems are so serious that he can't properly take care of himself or seek assistance for his own survival, this may prove a reason for detainment as well.

Hospitals and mental health facilities are not usually allowed to detain a party indefinitely. Instead, they are typically required to release a patient after a 72-hour involuntary hold. Sometimes, however, these holds are extended to 14 or 30 days. The patient may have a right to a court hearing to determine whether or not a long-term hold is justified.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
By anon998893 — On Sep 16, 2017

Some states take people to jail for a psychiatric hold, then not only must one pay bail to get out, they also must submit to quack doctors in the jail.

By SarahGen — On May 02, 2014

@serenesurface-- There is also something called outpatient psychiatric hold, where the patient is treated in a community center rather than at a hospital.

When people think of psychiatric hold, they imagine someone being forcefully locked up in a treatment center but that's not the case. There are people under psychiatric hold who are treated under much more relaxed conditions.

By serenesurface — On May 01, 2014

@fBoyle-- Of course, it's not as easy as it appears in films and TV shows. If someone has been admitted into a psychiatric ward by a court order, I think he again has to be released by a court order. So the court has to decide with testimony and evidence from doctors that this individual can live without supervision.

It's not easy to admit an individual into psychiatric hold and it's not easy to take him or her out of it. Before someone is fully admitted, there is usually temporary hospitalization or evaluation at a mental health facility to determine whether this person needs to be under psychiatric hold.

By fBoyle — On May 01, 2014

On TV shows, characters under psychiatric hold against their will are often shown trying to convince doctors that they have recovered and can be released. I'm sure the procedures to get a release from a psychiatric hold in real life are much more difficult.

Does anyone here know what needs to happen for someone to be allowed to leave?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.