Level of Care:
It can be difficult to determine what level of care one needs when seeking more intensive treatment. Most individuals seeking treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, or bipolar disorder, begin with regular outpatient treatment. This means seeing a psychiatrist or therapist at a frequency of once to multiple times per month. If outpatient treatment is not sufficient to get symptoms under control, it may be time to look into a mental health treatment facility. Another common scenario is when an individual has been hospitalized and is about to be discharged. In these cases, patients may need to “step down” to a program that is more intensive and supportive than routine outpatient treatment.
Treatment centers may offer various types of programs. Intensive outpatient programs may meet three times per week, for example. Partial hospital programs may meet daily. Residential treatment facilities often offer these types of programs but include a component where individuals can live on site or nearby, in a monitored and therapeutic environment.
When an individual is struggling and in need of more support, it is important to ensure that the treatment center offers highly qualified clinicians. Most programs offer a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and psychiatric treatment, meaning medication evaluation and adjustment. The clinicians offering care should be licensed, and ideally, hold degrees that are masters level and above. A psychiatrist should be on staff to prescribe and monitor psychiatric medications. Clinicians should also be well versed in evidence based treatments for trauma, mood and anxiety disorders, and personality disorders to name a few.
Comprehensive and Thoughtful Programming:
A mental health treatment program should always begin with a thorough biopsychosocial evaluation by a board certified psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist or therapist. The purpose of the evaluation is to get a sense of initial diagnoses, to gain a better understanding of past treatment experiences, as well as current stressors and needs. The initial evaluation should inform a comprehensive, evidence based treatment plan, including treatment goals and progress indicators. The treatment plan incorporates the necessary medication and therapy interventions that are best suited to the clients’ needs, and will lead to meaningful improvement. The plan should be shared with the client, and adjusted along the way according to how an individual is responding to the interventions that are being offered. A thoughtful plan and program will also guide discharge planning, and appropriate next steps after discharge.
Choosing a mental health treatment facility is a critical and challenging step that individuals and families often encounter during times of stress and crisis. Knowing what to look for, and what questions to ask, can be helpful. It is important to do one’s due diligence, ask exhaustive questions, and conduct thorough research until you find the program that feels best suited to your needs. The right treatment center will make sure to answer all your questions, share the details of their facility with transparency, and work with you in a collaborative and supportive fashion.
If you or someone you love is in need of mental health treatment, the Mental Health Collective is located in Newport Beach, California. Send our team a message or give us a call for resources 888.717.9355