MISCHA BARTON Released From Psychiatric Hospital; Heading Back to Work; Nicole Richie Steps in to Help Troubled Star

mischaMischa Barton has left a psychiatric hospital after almost 2 weeks and plans a return to work after she was placed under an ‘involuntary psychiatric hold’. Spokesman Craig Schneider said yesterday that the 23-year-old actress is ‘out of the hospital and continuing to improve in anticipation of resuming production as planned.’ He did not give any further details on Mischa’s condition, but said that she planned to return to work on the new Ashton Kutcher-produced television series “The Beautiful Life.” A CW spokesman for the show said last week that production was scheduled to begin Friday.

Mischa_BartonProduction for the show, which stars Barton as a drug-addict supermodel, was delayed after Mischa was removed from her home on July 15 amid reports of binge drinking and drug-taking and placed under ‘involuntary psychiatric hold’ in a Los Angeles hospital.

Friends have long feared for her health, with close friend Stacey Kives telling Heat magazine this week: ‘She was on the path to self-destruction – it was just a question of when she was going to be ready to do something about it.

Miss Kives, who first met Mischa while working as a stylist on The OC, added: ‘Mischa has been drinking since she was about 14, and she doesn’t drink to have fun anymore; she drinks to not feel anything. But I think the latest episode has scared her straight. She finally sounds like she’s seeing reality. Mischa’s finally willing to get some help. She was partying hard before. Whenever a close friend would say, ‘Mischa, I’m worried about you,’ she would distance herself.’

The actress was held under Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code – the same code which hospitalized Britney Spears twice in 2008. The section stipulates authorities can hold a person against their will for up to 72 hours if they present a danger to themselves or others are gravely disabled or suffer from a mental disorder.

mischa barton londonLAPD officers arrived at the 23-year-old’s West Hollywood apartment after responding to a non-emergency call to assist with a ‘medical issue’. The O.C. actress was forced to miss the New York premiere of her new film The Homecoming after she was admitted to Cedars Sinai hospital.

After coming out of the hospital, Mischa will need friends to lean on and one Hollywood starlet has stepped up: Nicole Richie.

RadarOnline.com is reporting that former wild child Nicole Richie has stepped in to help Barton as she recuperates from the meltdown that landed her in the hospital. “Mischa is doing great – thanks to Nicole,” a source close to both girls told RadarOnline.com exclusively. “She stepped in and talked to her about making changes in her life… basically doing a 360.”

mischa nicoleNicole Richie knows all about changing your life. After she was arrested in 2006 for DUI, (where she admitted to having taken vicodin and smoking pot,) Richie made some changes of her own and is now expecting her second baby with boyfriend Joel Madden. “Mischa and Nicole have been friends for years, but when Nic had Harlow, she became more domestic,” the source said. “Mischa isn’t even smoking anymore, thanks to Nicole,” the source told RadarOnline.com.

Another friend that Barton can lean on is The Beautiful Life’s creator, Ashton Kutcher! “Ashton is backing her up,” the source said. “She’s determined to get it together.”

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