Key messages

  • Acute inpatient services support people who cannot be assessed and treated safely and effectively in the community.
  • General hospitals commonly provide acute inpatient services.
  • These services provide both voluntary and compulsory short-term treatment and care during an acute phase of mental illness.

Acute inpatient services support people who cannot be assessed and treated safely and effectively in the community. General hospitals commonly provide acute inpatient services.

Acute inpatient services provide a range of therapeutic interventions and programs to patients and their families to learn more about the impact of the illness, explore ways to better manage the illness, improve coping strategies and move towards recovery.

All of the age-based mental health services – adult (16–64), child and adolescent (0–18) and aged persons (over 64) – also provide acute inpatient services for people who cannot be assessed and treated safely and effectively in the community.

These services provide voluntary and compulsory short-term treatment and care during an acute phase of mental illness.

Admission to an acute inpatient unit depends on the severity of the symptoms, the distress involved to the person and the risk of harm to self or others.

Community mental health and acute inpatient services

All specialist mental health services provide a range of community treatment and care components, located across a spectrum of continuing care that involves acute inpatient services.

Some services have separate teams for each function. However, increasingly services use integrated teams by rostering staff to undertake all required activities within a continuous-care framework for a given period.

Community mental health service components include:

  • urgent community-based assessment and short-term treatment interventions for people with a mental illness in crisis
  • intensive long-term support for people with prolonged and severe mental illness and associated high-level disability
  • non-urgent, continuing-care services for people with a mental illness and their families or carers in the community.

Community mental health responses use an assertive outreach approach that may result in clinical staff being involved with people for extended periods of time or providing more episodic care.

Orygen Youth Health

 Orygen Youth Health provides a specialised youth mental health clinical service for young people aged 15 to 25, with a focus on early intervention and youth specific approaches.