We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Psychiatric Triage?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Psychiatric triage is the assessment of mental health patients to determine the nature and urgency of their conditions. This information is used to assign a treatment priority in a situation where multiple patients are competing for treatment resources. In addition, it can lay the groundwork for a treatment plan to address the specific needs of the patient. It is often possible to provide this service over the phone.

As in other forms of medical triage, psychiatric triage starts with a quick overview of the patient’s case to record the major complaint and note any other issues. Major complaints in psychiatry could include issues like suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, or extreme anxiety. Secondary issues might involve other problems with emotional regulation. This information can help an interviewer determine what the patient’s problem is and make a decision about the level of its severity.

Emergencies in psychiatry may be less clear-cut than those in other forms of medicine. A patient having a heart attack is clearly a medical emergency, for example, while anxiety is not as clear. Panic attacks could potentially be very serious for a patient, or they might be manageable in an office visit on the following day. Considerable personal judgment is involved in psychiatric triage to determine what the patient needs on the basis of behavior, reported symptoms, and history.

The patient can be assigned a priority score. This may range from needing to be seen immediately to needing an appointment within a reasonable period of time, such as a week. The psychiatric triage also helps with the development of a treatment plan. This could include medications if a patient needs sedation or antipsychotics to address immediate problems, as well as recommendations for long-term psychotherapy. Information can be noted in the patient’s chart to record the assessment and the outcome.

People seeking assistance for mental health complaints may find the psychiatric triage process frustrating. It can involve a number of questions, not all of which may appear to directly pertain to the situation at hand. Family history is often collected, for example, because this may actually have a bearing on the patient’s mental state. A report of hallucinations may be viewed differently in a patient with a family history of schizophrenia than in someone who doesn’t share this history. Answering questions fully and to the best of the patient’s knowledge is most likely to result in prompt and appropriate processing.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.