Things to Pack for a Stay in the Mental Hospital

Today we are going to talk about what to pack and what not to pack if you are going to the psych ward or if you have a loved one who has entered the psych ward and are wondering what you can take to them. I know that this time is incredibly difficult and scary, to say the least. Your feelings are valid. Whether this was voluntary or a 5150 situation, just know that you are not alone. Life is sometimes one foot in front of the other rather than one day at a time and we can only do the best we can do.

You may be questioning what you can have or bring to the psych ward which is probably what brought you to this article. The truth is it varies facility to facility and what you do decide to bring, the staff will search the belongings and tell you their stipulations. You will probably be surprised at some of the things that aren’t allowed in. If you would like to see my video on this you can check it out here.

With that being said, let’s continue.

1. When it comes to items of clothing, I would recommend comfortable warm clothing. Pack things that don’t have any strings or ornaments. That means no pajama pants, sweatpants, sweatshirts or shorts with ties or balls.


These pajama bottoms, for example, would not be allowed because of the drawstring at the top, however, things are usually easy to take or cut out so if you can do so before you bring them. Some places also do not allow clothing with buttons so be mindful of that as well.

2. Nothing with long straps, so no purses, backpacks, work out bags, and no belts. You can take the belongings there in one but they will make you take them out and either keep it for you or if you are bringing this to a loved one you will have to take it back with you.

3. No plastic grocery bags

4. No socks that are longer than ankle length.


The pair on the left is an acceptable length, whereas the pair on the right is not.

5. No shoes with shoe laces. So bring or wear slip-on tennis shoes or slippers with no ties or ornaments.

6. Hats are another thing that depends on the facility but play it safe and no knit beanies. Opt for something more along the lines of the beanie on the left rather than the beanie on the right.


7. Some facilities may or may not allow floss. If this is your first trip I would just ask your facility what they allow when it comes to this. In my experience you were allowed to have it but the staff would keep it and just monitor you as you floss. The reason for this (as with everything else on this list) are to ensure that you or or loved one do not use these items for purposes other than which they are intended.

8. Since we are on the topic of oral care. No electric toothbrushes, just bring a regular old standard toothbrush.

9. Hairbrush ( I mean if you need one), elastic hair ties are normally ok but it depends on your facility.

10. Cosmetics: so this is usually also up to the facilities discretion. In most cases the staff will keep them and monitor their use.

11. Shampoo, conditioner, soap. Cause ya going to want to shower and have your own products. Some facilities may have a size stipulation but in my experience these are usually ok to have. They also have toiletries there, but it’s kind of the equivalent of motel 5. No shade to motel 5 or the facility, I’m just saying.

12. Art supplies and books. Cause ya going to be a little bored. There is a structure throughout the day but there is still a lot of downtime. There are again, stipulations. Some facilities allow markers and colored pencils but a lot do not. So to play it safe, it’s all about the crayons. No coloring books, journals or books with any kind of staples. You can just look at the binding and tell whether they have them or not. When it comes to books, nothing with a hardcover. So opt for paperback books.


13. When it comes to outside food, some facilities allow you to bring your own snacks but they do feed you there. Again it depends on your dietary needs and it’s up to the facilities discretion.

14. If you use a nicotine or tobacco product they will not let you have them. What happens in that case is your assigned doctor will sign off for the staff to give you a piece of nicotine gum. In the event that you need it you just walk to the med tech station or nurses station and ask for one.

15. Also, you won’t be able to access to your cellphone so have the numbers of your loved ones written down so you’ll be able to call them from the facility phones.

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