May 5, 2022 Mental Health

How to Find a Mental Health Treatment Center That Fits Your Needs

When struggling with symptoms of mental health disorders, it can be overwhelming to find help. The feelings that can accompany a treatment search—such as frustration, stress, or lack of motivation—can also exacerbate your underlying symptoms and make it more challenging to locate the services you’re seeking.

However, the mental health professional search process does not have to be a dreadful task. You can make it easier by keeping a few key qualities in mind. Treatment works, and here is what you should look for to find a treatment program that fits your needs.

9.2 million American adults struggle with a co-occuring condition

Explore behavioral health treatment options.

When seeking mental health treatment, it’s critical to consider the scope of the services that you need. Behavioral health treatment centers come in a wide variety of flavors, and if you choose one that isn’t quite the right fit, it could deter you from moving forward with treatment.

Depending on your health conditions, you may want to narrow your search by seeking a comprehensive health treatment program that addresses several behavioral conditions all in one setting. But, every program is different—just as different as each individual’s condition and medical history, making personalization important.

For instance, 9.2 million American adults struggle with a co-occurring condition (which is a mental health condition that exists along with a substance use disorder) according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This means there are custom facilities, programs, and support groups just for you if that matches your experience.

Decide on inpatient or outpatient treatment.

When managing mental illness, there are two classifications regarding levels of care. “Outpatient care” refers to services received within the parameters of an isolated encounter—such as a clinic visit or an afternoon therapy session. The idea is that you walk into the visit, receive a behavioral health service, and then walk out and return to your residence.

“Inpatient care” refers to services received within the boundaries of a controlled setting, such as a hospital or residential treatment center. In this setting, you reside in the treatment facility and have supervision and support around the clock, 24/7. You also must be formally discharged to leave.

Many people who struggle with behavioral conditions in addition to substance use disorders find that these inpatient treatment facilities are helpful because they provide continuous support throughout the recovery process—from detox to drug rehab counseling and medication support to discharge.

Depending on your medical conditions, insurance, availability, and support network at home, you may find that you are more well-suited for outpatient care versus inpatient care, or vice versa.

Find a program offering medication-assisted treatment.

When looking for help recovering from a mental health condition or substance use disorder, it’s important to know whether or not a treatment program has a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) component.

Medications can play a helpful role in recovering from many different types of mental health and substance use disorders. According to SAMHSA, the goal of medication-assisted treatment is to help people achieve full recovery from their condition and to return to a life that is within their control.

SAMHSA notes that medication-assisted treatment can help improve a person’s survival, increase their likelihood of adhering to treatment plans, and even increase their chances of getting and sustaining employment once treatment is completed.

Types of medications that may be provided by a mental health treatment program include:

  • Medicines for major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or benzodiazepines.
  • Medicines for mental health symptoms, such as sleep disturbances or fatigue.
  • Mood stabilizing medications, such as aripiprazole, quetiapine, or lithium.
  • Medicines for alcohol use disorder, such as acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone.
  • Medicines for opioid use disorder, such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.
  • Medications to help with withdrawal symptoms for those who are detoxifying in the context of addiction treatment.

If you are currently taking medication for a mental health condition, it’s also important to know whether a mental health treatment has an affiliation with a prescribing physician or another mental health provider so that you can receive continuous care and medication management.

Ask about their therapeutic modes.

Many mental health treatment programs will have a close relationship with or directly employ mental health practitioners. Before choosing a treatment program, it’s important to get clarity about the different types of treatments available, including treatment philosophies.

There are many different types of therapies that are employed to help people suffering from mental illnesses, however certain therapies—like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—have been shown by researchers to be highly effective when it comes to managing mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

Behavioral health counseling options can also vary depending on their level of care. Some rehab facilities have mental health care providers that are employed full-time and available 24/7, while others may have access only during specific hours.

Make sure to inquire about the amount of counseling that is available as an outpatient or through a partial hospitalization program (PHP), as compared to within a residential setting. This could influence how much access you have as a patient and how much support you can receive.

Seek all available avenues for recovery.

When you are looking for treatment for a mental health condition, it’s important to find a treatment program that can meet your specific needs. Make sure to ask whether certain highly-specific conditions—such as eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—are managed by a prospective program.

One way to seek out this information is to look for programs that offer a dual diagnosis treatment plan. Often, conditions such as eating disorders go hand-in-hand with substance abuse conditions because one propels or enables the other.

By addressing and getting specialized treatment for both conditions simultaneously, you can ensure that you are taking a comprehensive approach to your recovery.

by addressing and getting specialized treatment for both conditions ensure that you are taking a comprehensive approach for recovery

Be open to the possibilities.

Recovering from a substance use disorder or mental health condition is often achieved through various treatment methods. It can be just as important to have a supportive peer group in a therapy setting as it is to be on the right dose of medication. For this reason, it’s important to seek a mental health treatment center that offers a wide variety of therapeutic options.

Look for programs that incorporate individual counseling sessions, group therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy at baseline. Then, ask if a program offers additional therapeutic options. You may find that you benefit from specific treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trauma resolution therapy, equine therapy, or meditation and spirituality services.

Using various treatment options can often have a synergistic effect, with one form of treatment strengthening the other’s positive effects.

Review the amenities.

Mental health treatment centers often offer more than just behavioral health guidance, medications, and medical supervision. If you are choosing between programs, it is a good idea to consider some of the intangible elements that might make a program feel like a good fit.

This can include the physical layout of the property grounds, the structure of the daily schedule, or even the general “feel” of the design. This is especially important if you are considering long-term treatment in a residential setting. Some rehab centers deliberately construct their physical space to mimic a feeling of home—with modern electronics, comfortable housing units, and hardwood floors.

These features can help people in recovery feel peaceful and more at ease as they go through their recovery journey.

Seek financial assistance or verify your benefits.

Financial considerations should be a secondary concern when it comes to getting help for a mental illness—prioritizing your health should be your number one goal. However, it is important to take finances into account when seeking a mental health treatment program, as choosing a program that is not covered by your insurance, or that you cannot otherwise afford, can cause you added stress and sabotage your recovery goals.

Make sure to inquire about the cost of any program that you are considering and ask about what modifications or considerations may alter the cost. People who enter mental health treatment centers often do so with the help of programs such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance.