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If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

For health care providers

Assessment and referral

Assessment and referral is a hospital-based mental health service that responds to patients experiencing a crisis related to mental health or addiction. 

Services are provided in the Emergency Department (ED) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis and have come to the Emergency Department (ED), you will likely be referred to an assessment and referral clinician for a consultation. This clinician (a master's degree level mental health professional) will do a risk assessment and give recommendations for your care to the ED doctor. 

During your assessment, the clinician will meet with you and anyone who has come with you face-to-face, in person or through Telehealth Service to assess how severe your crisis is and to help your Emergency Department (ED) health care provider determine the right level of care for you. Meeting with the mental health care provider does not mean you will need to stay in the hospital.

If a child or adolescent is being assessed, family and/or guardian involvement is important. A parent and/or guardian must stay in the Emergency Department (ED) during the assessment process.
The time you stay in the Emergency Department (ED) will vary for each person. Staff members are helping a variety of patients who have a number of medical and mental health emergencies. Assessment and referral clinicians often consult with on-call psychiatrists, outpatient providers and other community agencies.

Once the assessment is done, a plan will be made with your Emergency Department (ED) health care providers to help you receive the right level of care.

The possibilities may include:

  • admission to the hospital
  • transfer to another hospital
  • return home with a crisis plan in place
  • referral to a mental health provider at an outpatient clinic
  • referral to a day treatment or partial hospital program
  • information about additional resources

It is important to know that even though you may feel overwhelmed with mental issues or other conflicts, being admitted to the hospital may not be the best solution. An assessment and referral mental health care provider will talk with you about your options.

Hospital emergency departments

The emergency department at any of these Allina Health hospitals offers assessment and referral services:

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Assessment and Referral, mh-ah-14313
First Published: 11/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 03/25/2016