Psychiatrists who specialize in emergency psychiatry are trained to evaluate and treat patients suffering from severe mental illness or acute emotional or psychological distress. An emergency psychiatrist may be called upon to provide psychiatric services for attempted suicide, substance abuse, depression, psychosis, violence or other sudden changes in behavior. Urgent psychiatric interventions can take place in an emergency department, psychiatric hospital, or through a psychiatric emergency service (PES).
Psychiatrists are also often among the first responders in a disaster. Disaster psychiatry is an emerging field that includes public health preparedness as well as psychotherapeutic interventions after school shootings, natural disasters, or civil conflict.
Important Resources for Emergency Mental Health
American Psychiatric Publishing (APPI), a division of the American Psychiatric Association, equips frontline psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and other mental health professionals with the tools to prepare thoroughly, respond swiftly, and intervene appropriately in psychiatric emergencies.
View a complete list of publications related to emergency psychiatry.