Would a few days in hospital badly affect your college work? How long is it until your winter break? I understand how hard it must be to make this decision since you've said if you can wait until your break then how do you know if you need to be in hospital. I'm also not sure about the criteria for admission in your area and what they would do for you in hospital.
I'm not sure exactly how much my schoolwork would be affected, but during the semester it's more than would be ideal. If I assume it's just the 72 hours, I could only miss one class and my workstudy (college funded busy-work) if I went on a Friday, or anywhere between 4 and 8 classes on other days of the week. I've a couple big projects coming up soon that I'm probably going to do poorly on anyway, but most of my professors are pretty understanding about stuff like this. (Actually, it just occurred to me that if the hospital lets me have anything to write with, which I think they will, I could still make progress on one of my final projects during free time)
It's a little over a month til winter break, but there's another problem with that: I have an unavoidable pick-up date at the start of break that'd take me 600 miles away from here, and I trust the hospital there a lot less than the one here. The best idea I've come up with to manage that issue is, I might
be able to come back to school a couple weeks early before the start of the next semester. But that would be closer to two or two-and-a-half months from now.
Voluntary inpatient here is mostly based on 'danger to self or others,' and unless they're completely out of beds they're unlikely to turn me away. Basically the process goes like this: I go to the ER, tell them what I'm here for and why, they'll do a medical check followed by a psych eval, and if it's determined that I'm a 'danger to self or others,' they'll confiscate my stuff and get me a room to wait in until they're able to transfer me to the other hospital. Depending on their opinion of me, they might have someone 1-1 obs while I wait.
Then at the other hospital I'd most likely go straight to psych, talk to the psychiatrist guy, and if he confirms what the first guy thought, I'll get the approved bits of my stuff back and be admitted. The psych unit here is big on group activities, which I hate, but they're technically voluntary (but lack of participation will be noted and could affect my stay). Other than that, there's a lot of talking, like group therapy (which I also hate) and 1-1's (which can be helpful). There's supervised excursions, outside if the weather's good and if I'm not deemed an elopement risk. But the most helpful part imo is just the lack of opportunity/means to hurt myself, the highly structured schedule and constant availability of support.
I think my main worry at this time really is, if I can wait that long do I really need it?