Mental Health Services

The Adult Mental Health Unit has been open for 43 years.

Psychiatrists on the medical staff of the hospital admit to this unit and lead the treatment team in developing the patient's plan of care while they are in the hospital.

Staff providing care to the patients consists of Registered Nurses, a Licensed Vocational Nurse, Mental Health Technicians, Recreational Therapy staff, a Therapist and a Clinical Social Worker.

Scope Of Service And Plan Of Care

The Mental Health Services Department is a 12-bed acute psychiatric service within Antelope Valley Hospital, an acute general hospital, providing inpatient adult mental health/psychiatric services.

These services are organized in a structure to allow for interdisciplinary process development to most effectively meet the patient/client needs and will provide to all customers the services listed during the hours of operation.

Each patient has a plan of care developed in order to:

  • Provide care and comfort to each patient/client through an interdisciplinary treatment team approach.
  • Provide diagnostic and interventional care to return each patient/client to their individual, optimal behavioral and mental functioning.
  • Provide a safe and secure environment for patients, families and staff.

Frequent procedures, services and processes
The department provides inpatient nursing care and therapeutic activity services. Staff members conduct psychosocial assessments, individual and group therapy. Nursing care includes medication administration and education on an individual and group basis. Therapeutic activity services are provided by a Recreational Therapist and Recreational Therapy Assistants, which includes leisure time activities and education, music group, pet therapy as well as arts and crafts.

Routine observations by the nursing staff of the patients are completed every 30 minutes around-the-clock.

Age and Gender of Patients
The usual population is the adult.

For the most common diagnoses in the department, the most common age range is 35 to 49 years of age with gender distribution being 59% female and 41% male.

The most common diagnoses (DSM IV-TR) are:

1. Schizophrenia
2. Bipolar Disorders
3. Major Depressive Disorder
4. Adjustment/Personality Disorder

Length of Stay
The average length of stay within the department is four to seven days.

Mode of Admission
Eighty-eight percent of the department's patients are admitted through the Emergency Department.

Both AHA and NAPHS are co-sponsors of the Web-based Stop a Suicide program. The program teaches Americans how to recognize and respond to signs of suicide in their families, friends, and co-workers. It emphasizes the relationship between suicide and mental illness and the notion that a key step in reducing suicide is to correctly identify symptoms of mental illness and get those in need into treatment. The initiative features mass media efforts, including widespread dissemination of the "ACT" approach (Acknowledge that your friend/loved one has a problem, let them know that you Care about them, and get them to a professional for Treatment) as well as the Suicide Risk Questionnaire (SRQ) which helps identify the signs of suicide. Stop a Suicide has launched a new Web site at that highlights the SRQ and ACT. The Web site also provides tangible resources for individuals and professionals in need of assessment and treatment recommendations as well as evidence-based research to help guide prevention and treatment policies.

STUDY FINDS PERSONALITY DISORDERS AFFECT ALMOST ONE IN SEVEN ADULT AMERICANS. The first national study to determine the prevalence of seven of the 10 personality disorders found that 15% of adult Americans (almost 31 million people) suffer from at least one type of personality disorder. Researchers found that the most common of these disorders was obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at about 8% of those studied (or 16.4 million adults overall). OCD prevalence was followed by 4.4% with a paranoid personality disorder (more than 9 million adults). Nearly 3.6% (8 million people) had antisocial personality disorder, and 3.1% (6.5 million adults) had schizoid personality disorder. Avoidant personality disorder was found in 2.4% of those interviewed (5 million of the adult population), and 1.8% (about 4 million) had histrionic personality disorder. Because some people have more than one personality disorder, the numbers total more than the nearly 31 million, the number affected by at least one such disorder. The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. (vol.65,no.7).

TECHNICAL REPORT ON RESPONSE TO TERRORISM AVAILABLE. State Mental Health Authorities' Response to Terrorism has been published by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Medical Directors Council to serve as 1) a clinical guide; 2) a policy/planning stimulant; and 3) a general-information resource for medical directors and others who must be rapidly briefed before responding to a critical event. The report — a clinical guide for use during "all-hazards events" — features sections on understanding the psychological impact of terrorism, considerations for special-needs populations, and explanations of federal and state roles. Also featured is a list of stakeholder recommendations organized according to the disaster phases of pre-event preparedness, response, and recovery. To download the report, go to Dir Terrorism Rpt - final.pdf

ESTIMATES AVAILABLE ON STATE RATES OF SUBSTANCE USE, SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESSES. A new data source includes state-by-state estimates of the rates of serious mental illness, use of illegal drugs, binge drinking, and tobacco use. Access the "State Estimates of Substance Abuse from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health" at Also at this site are links to "Serious Mental Illness by State" and "Treatment Gap: State Estimates of Persons Needing But Not Receiving Treatment, 2002."

Alcohol abuse leads to more than 79,000 deaths a year and shortens lives by about 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States each year. For more information, click on

JOIN A NEW NIMH LISTSERV ON RESEARCH. You can now receive via email the latest information about requests for applications and other funding opportunities from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The new "FundingOPPS" listserv also provides administrative updates and changes to grant policies and procedures. The research interests and directions of NIMH will be reflected in the announcements.

STUDY FINDS CHRONICALLY ILL, INCLUDING THOSE WITH DEPRESSION, PAYING MORE OUT-OF-POCKET. The proportion of low-income, privately insured, working-age Americans with chronic conditions (such as depression, asthmas, or diabetes) spending more than 5% of their incomes on out-of-pocket medical costs jumped from 28% percent to 42% between 2001 and 2003, according to a national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Among the 3 million uninsured, chronically ill people with medical bill problems, four in 10 went without needed care, two in three put off care, and seven in 10 did not fill a prescription in the past year because of cost concerns. Read the report ("Issue Brief No. 88") at

A summary of the National Patient Safety Goals is now available on the Joint Commission Web site. To access this document, go to under "Patient Safety Goals". Hospitals are required to meet all applicable patient safety goals.

Five experts on serving geropsychiatric inpatient populations share their experiences in establishing, managing, and maintaining specialty programs for older patients in a two-hour audiotape training now available from the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. The faculty includes James M. Ellison, MD, MPH, clinical director, Geriatric Psychiatric Program, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA; Gene P. Boylan, MEd, program director, Senior Medical Mental Health Service, Moses Taylor Hospital, Scranton, PA; Elizabeth S. Droske, RN, MSN, CRNP, clinical care coordinator, Inpatient Services, Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA; Bruce Sack, MD, medical director, Botsford Hospital, Farmington Hills, MI; Susan C. Sargent, CMC, president, Sargent & Associates, Philadelphia, PA. The cost is $175 ($125 for NAPHS members). For an order form, see, call 202/393-6700, ext. 104, or email