Psychiatry & Psychology--General/suicidal


I'm getting a full phsyciatric assessment tomorrow and I'm wondering that if I tell them that I have a plan that I am easily able to carry through, will they put me into a mental hospital? If so can they do it involuntary as I'm under 16?

Hi Maddi, I understand your concern and am glad you asked us.

On the one hand, as I'm sure you know, the more accurate details you provide about your thoughts and feelings, the more effectively they can help you.

On the other, if they fear that outside a mental-health facility, there's this under-18 person who might kill herself ..., well, I'm sure you can finish this sentence. But New Zealand is one of the countries that has led the way in what's called "de-institutionalization" -- that is, since the 1960s it has tried to find other ways of providing help to those who need it, and imposed checks and balances so that nobody gets "sectioned" without clear necessity, and if they are, they are not forgotten about but are regularly considered for less restrictive forms of help.

You might be wondering how a psychiatric assessment works. First, nothing will hurt or embarrass you. Generally, the first part is a friendly interview, in which someone will mainly ask you about what's going on in your life, and let you talk. My advice is to answer that you will try to be honest and open, and then do so. And part of this would be to declare your fear of being sent to a mental hospital against your wishes -- even though ... (and then, yes, I would outline your plan).

The other part is usually some psychological tests. The purpose is to find not any one specific answer, but an overall pattern that will point to the best way to alleviate your concerns -- and get you to where you're a happy and successful 18-year-old.  

I thank you for contacting us, hope you found the answer useful, and -- like the people you will see tomorrow -- wish the best for you.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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