Good psychiatric hospitals in NYC?
June 29, 2015 12:44 PM   Subscribe

A friend in New York City is in crisis and I think needs to go to a psychriatric hospital. The one they've been to previously has since closed and they are reluctant to go to a place they know nothing about. I'm in Florida so I'm no help with this. Can any of you recommend which hospitals in Manhattan should be considered - or as importantly, avoided?
posted by cmyk to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bellevue is the usual go-to for psychiatric emergencies in NYC. I have no direct experience except that a friend was admitted there for a few days after a mental health crisis, and she was treated quite well.
posted by bedhead at 1:06 PM on June 29, 2015

AVOID AVOID AVOID: Elmhurst Hospital. You're welcome to MeMail me if you want more details, but again: avoid.
posted by Button-down sock at 1:13 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

(Sorry, just noticed that you said Manhattan and Elmhurst in in Queens. Still.)
posted by Button-down sock at 1:13 PM on June 29, 2015

Response by poster: (Still helpful. If a place is really worth it I think they might be willing to exit the borough. Sorry you had such a miserable experience there - I hope you're all right now.)
posted by cmyk at 1:15 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have no experience with Bellevue for mental health specifically, but I have some experience with it from my time as an EMT in the city, and as an all-around hospital it can be extremely hit-or-miss. It's the city's public hospital, which means that it's often overwhelmed and understaffed, and it's frequently a dumping ground for emergency patients who are combative or otherwise unpleasant. It might be better for non-emergency visits or mental health, but it would be one of my last choices if I needed to go to the hospital in New York (my first choice would probably be Presbyterian or maybe Langone, but again that's for general health; I can't speak to psychiatric treatment).
posted by Itaxpica at 1:17 PM on June 29, 2015

Consider contacting the Crisis Respite Center through Community Access. The intake information is here. They have residential hospital diversion programs that allow for medication adjustment and safety without some of the negative aspects of hospitals.

I would go with Columbia Presbyterian over Bellevue.
posted by decathexis at 1:24 PM on June 29, 2015

Response by poster: I got a MeMail with some pretty dire warnings about Presbyterian Columbia, so I'm hesitant to recommend it to them. I'll pass along that site, though, thank you.
posted by cmyk at 1:32 PM on June 29, 2015

I would go with Langone or Beth Israel over any of the others but it will really depend on your friend's insurance coverage. They should find out which ones are in their network and then we can work from there, because a huge uninsured emergency intake bill will not be conducive to beneficial mental health progress.

I would not go to Bellevue for any reason.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:53 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: They have Aetna and Medicaid.
posted by cmyk at 1:59 PM on June 29, 2015

I would recommend that your friend call 1-800-LIFENET to see what options they have in terms of treatment. Even the best psychiatric units are not great places to be, even if they are highly regarded/ranked-- Bellevue is a great example of that-- so if there are outpatient programs they would benefit from they should start there over going to the ER unless they're a danger to themselves or others.
posted by fox problems at 2:28 PM on June 29, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks so much, everyone. I've talked my friend into calling their therapist for an asap appointment and then they'll see what the therapist recommends. If they do need to go to a hospital we've got several ruled out and others to look into. If anything else comes up I'll post, and if anyone has further recommendations I'd still love to hear them.

(Sorry for the threadsitting)
posted by cmyk at 3:26 PM on June 29, 2015

Seconding the strong recommendation that your friend make sure that whatever facility he or she chooses is in-network on his or her insurance.

It's not in NYC, but Four Winds Westchester in Katonah (about 50 minutes north of the city, and easy to get to by train, for visits) is excellent. We live in Manhattan, and I have twice chosen Four Winds for a loved one over psych facilities in the city.

Having said that, I would think that NYU Langone, Beth Israel, or New York-Presbyterian would all be fine. (I worked at New York Hospital long ago, before it merged with Presbyterian, and knew some of the doctors and administrators at Payne Whitney and the Westchester Division. Some of them were amazingly compassionate people.)
posted by merejane at 4:27 PM on June 29, 2015

My wife, a clinical psychologist who trained in NYC, says Payne-Whitney is the best place to go in the five boroughs if you're having a psychiatric emergency. Bellevue and NYU Langone are close seconds.

She also says avoid pretty much anywhere outside of Manhattan, where the psychiatry departments range from "hit-or-miss" to "hideously broken."
posted by saladin at 4:53 PM on June 29, 2015

"Even the best psychiatric units are not great places to be, even if they are highly regarded/ranked-- Bellevue is a great example of that"

My relative was hospitalized at Bellevue for several months following a psychiatric emergency. (And it's not the only psych hospital I've seen firsthand.) It appeared to me to be overwhelmed, and overwhelming, but that was 14 years ago. I wouldn't have it as a first choice.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:56 PM on June 29, 2015

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