GLEN OAKS, NY – The North Shore-LIJ Health System recently announced the opening of a new Inpatient Psychiatric Unit specializing in the needs of undergraduate and graduate college students with serious mental illness. The Behavioral Health College Partnership is a unique program that works closely with affiliated colleges and universities to address mental health crises on campuses through emergency protocols, enhanced school-hospital communication, and specialized evaluation and treatment.
St. John’s University in Queens and Adelphi University in Nassau County are among the 23 colleges and universities that are part of the program.
“Since 1994, the rate of college students hospitalized for psychiatric reasons has tripled. This program provides extraordinary emergency processes to assess and treat acute psychiatric illness in students,” said Laura Braider, PhD, Director of the partnership.
When a student is in need of immediate help because of suicidal or homicidal thoughts, psychosis or a drug reaction, partner schools follow established protocols. On a 24/7 basis, North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Emergency Medical Services will arrange for ambulance transport to the LIJ emergency department when necessary. Once students arrive, psychiatrists will assess the need for hospital in-patient admission. With the student’s permission, consultations with school personnel and/or parents inform the decision.
“It’s a real collaboration that engages all interested parties,” Braider said.
If a student is in need of hospitalization, the new 22-bed unit, located in Zucker Hillside Hospital’s recently-opened Behavioral Health Pavilion, offers unique and age-appropriate programs dedicated to meeting the needs of students and their families. Length of stay is usually between four to seven days. A critical focus addresses successful re-entry to the university setting.
“Persisting symptoms, even if less apparent following treatment, can still compromise academic and social performance,” Braider said. “Students feel vulnerable about their futures and naturally want to return immediately. So we work closely with unit staff to foster student and family recognition and acceptance of what has happened in order to strategize about safest next steps. Sometimes short-term delay equals long-term success.”
The partnership offers transitional post-hospitalization outpatient treatment; and for selected students, ongoing therapies in concert with their student counseling centers.
Call 718-470-8049 to learn more about psychiatric services offered through the program. All calls are confidential and handled by staff with college student expertise.