Coalition on Psychiatric Emergencies


 COPE logo

The increasing presence of psychiatric emergencies in the ER is raising hospital costs, draining resources and negatively impacting patients. Currently there is no universal way to treat these emergencies in the ER. A lack of a universal treatment model often results in patients being physically or chemically restrained, which can be traumatizing for the patient and costly for the hospital.  

 It’s time we think about doing things differently—that’s why ER doctors,  patient advocates, nurses and psychiatrists are coming together to create a new organization -  the Coalition on Psychiatric Emergencies.  Through this unique collaboration we will focus on solutions and how best to develop more unified treatment models and improve the treatment experience for patients and for healthcare providers. 

This Coalition is made up of a group of more than 30 national leaders in emergency medicine, psychiatry and patient advocacy who are focused on improving the treatment of psychiatric emergencies for patients and emergency providers. The Coalition is run by the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF), a 501 (c)3 organization.

The overarching goals of the Coalition are not only to bring awareness and recognition to the national challenges surrounding psychiatric emergencies in the United States, but also to work collaboratively to address these problems and create change. It hopes to improve patient care for psychiatric/behavioral emergencies through collaboration and will focus specifically on:


  • Developing a continuum of care, to include prevention and aftercare
  • Ensuring education and training for emergency staff who care for patients 
  • Improving the treatment experience for patients and staff during a psychiatric emergency
  • Driving improved quality and safety of diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric emergencies
  • Decreasing boarding of psychiatric patients in emergency departments
  • Ensuring adequate funding and resources for treating psychiatric emergencies
  • Advancing the research around psychiatric emergencies 


  SAVE THE DATE: December 13, 2017 

The Coalition on Psychiatric Emergencies is presenting half day, parallel workshops for personnel in emergency medicine and emergency psychiatry.  These interactive, case-based workshops will focus on providing you with specific knowledge and skills for managing behavioral and medical emergencies.  

CME provided. 

  • Critical Topics in Behavioral Emergencies for Emergency Physicians: Case Reviews
  • Critical Topics in Emergency Care for Psychiatrists: Case Reviews 

Held at Hyatt Ganey Ranch, in Scottsdale AZ.  More details to come. 



  •  ACEP Fact Sheet on Psychiatric Emergencies     
  •  White Papers - Practical Solutions to Boarding of Psychiatric Patients in the Emergency Department - Does Your Emergency Department Have a Psychiatric Boarding Problem? and Care of the Psychiatric Patient in the ED: A Review of the Literature
  • “Caring for Adult Patients with Suicide Risk: A Consensus Guide for Emergency Departments” -This guide is designed to assist Emergency Department (ED) health care professionals with decisions about the care and discharge of patients with suicide risk. It was developed with extensive input and guidance from a Consensus Panel of experts from emergency medicine and suicide prevention organizations including people with lived experience. Its main goal is to improve patient outcomes after discharge.  From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.  
  •  “Preventing Suicide in Emergency Department Patients” Online Course - Emergency departments (EDs) play an important role in suicide prevention. This online course teaches healthcare professionals who work in an ED how to conduct screening, assessment, and brief interventions, such as safety planning and lethal means counseling. It also addresses patient-centered care for patients with suicide risk, patient safety during the ED visit, and incorporating suicide prevention into discharge planning.  This course can be completed in approximately two hours. You do not have to complete the course in one session. You can exit the course at any time and return later to the place where you left off. From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
  • Agitation Toolkit from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.  Includes training videos, information sheets, project BETA articles and more. 


The initiative stemmed from a psychiatric emergency summit in December 2014 where nurses, emergency physicians and patient advocates gathered for the first time to collectively discuss the current troubling state of psychiatric emergencies within the ER. 

Current Members:


  • American Academy of Emergency Medicine
  • American Association for Emergency Psychiatry
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians
  • American Psychiatric Nurses Association
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  • Emergency Nurse Association
  • Hospital Corporation of America
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Council on Behavioral Health
  • New Directions Behavioral Health

Support for this Coalition was made possible through support from Teva Pharmaceuticals, Alexza and New Directions Behavioral Health.


 Email Loren Rives at for more information.