Mental hospitals are also where people can go to get their medication adjusted on an inpatient basis, where they can be closely monitored.
They usually have four departments: long term, acute/short term, forensics and mentally retarded. Most people are initially admitted into the short term unit, since they may stabilize within the usual 72-hour initial evaluation period. This is when they are seen by a psychiatrist and evaluated for their symptoms, medication, treatment plan, etc. Most short term patients are out in about 14 days or less.
Long term units are for those who cannot function in a less restrictive environment, such as a group home, and cannot manage their own care.
Units for mentally retarded patients with mental illness create a safe environment for these individuals who require specialized care.
The forensics unit is for those who have committed crimes due to their mental illness. These units feature strict security and protocols to protect the staff, as well as the patients.