Taking the first step toward improved mental well-being is not always easy. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is simply knowing where to start. You’ve realized that you would benefit from a mental health program, but you find yourself at a crossroads of choices.
Should I opt for an inpatient program? Or would an outpatient setting be more suitable? Additionally, how do I choose between a partial hospitalization program and an intensive outpatient one?
With many choices and little clarity, Valle Vista Health System is here to help. Join us as we guide you through the different kinds of mental health programs, including inpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs. By the end, you should understand the main differences, goals and benefits of each program.
The Importance of Mental Health
Access to mental health resources remains a critical issue in modern society. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a little over 20% of US adults (around 57.8 million people) experienced a mental illness in 2021. Mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background, emphasizing the importance of addressing and prioritizing mental wellbeing.
For adults, mental health is vital for maintaining a balanced and fulfilling life. It impacts every aspect of their daily functioning, including work, relationships and personal and professional growth. Adult mental health programs can help them manage stress, improve their emotional well-being, and enhance their overall quality of life.
Adolescents also greatly benefit from prioritizing mental health. The teenage years can be a challenging period of transition and development, and teenagers may experience various mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders or substance abuse.
Adolescent mental health programs can help them build resilience, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and navigate the challenges they face during this critical stage of life.
Mental health plays a critical role in our day-to-day lives. It affects how we think, feel and act. It influences our perspective on life, our ability to cope with stress and even our ability to make critical decisions. Negative mental health can lead to deteriorating social relationships, worsening job/academic performance and even become life-threatening.
Despite this, there are still many who avoid seeking help for their mental health issues. In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, one of the leading causes of people avoiding mental health treatment is that they do not know where to go for help (24% of respondents in 2018).
What Are The Different Kinds of Mental Health Programs?
Clearly, understanding the different kinds of mental health programs available can make a difference in whether someone decides to seek help.
Mental health programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different people benefit from different types of programs depending on various factors. This can include the severity of the condition, length of the program and individual preferences and goals. Fortunately, there are different kinds of mental health programs capable of meeting each patient’s needs.
An inpatient mental health program is a type of treatment where people receive care within a residential facility. Inpatient programs are designed for people with severe psychiatric conditions that require intensive round-the-clock care and monitoring. These programs provide highly structured and supportive environments where patients can receive the care they need.
Inpatient programs typically offer a range of therapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), recreational therapy and medication management. These programs also provide different therapy modalities, including individual, family and group therapy.
The benefit of inpatient mental health programs is that they provide a safe and secure environment for stabilization, crisis management and intensive treatment. The goal is for patients to help patients stabilize potentially life-threatening symptoms, develop coping skills and step down to less intensive levels of care.
Adult inpatient programs offer a specialized setting for patients to receive mental health care tailored to address issues and concerns common in adulthood. Inpatient programs for adolescents, on the other hand, provide a secure and comfortable environment for patients to receive care from mental health professionals who understand the unique stressors of adolescence.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a type of outpatient mental health program that provides structured, intensive treatment to people with moderate symptoms of mental illness. PHPs are designed for people who no longer require round-the-clock care but still benefit from higher levels of support and intervention than traditional outpatient therapy.
Typically, partial hospitalization programs are considered the “first step down” from an inpatient program. They usually last two weeks, but may last longer depending on the patient’s needs. Therapy modalities may include individual, family or group therapy.
The goal of PHPs is to address the patient’s mental health challenges and help them develop critical coping skills to better manage their daily lives and responsibilities. The benefit of a partial hospitalization program is that it enables patients to live at home while still receiving structured care.
In a PHP, patients attend weekly treatment sessions that usually take place five days a week for anywhere between 4-8 hours. At Valle Vista Health System, for example, our partial hospitalization program for adults takes place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., although hours may vary.
Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a type of outpatient mental health program that provides structured treatment and support to people with mild symptoms of mental illness. IOPs are designed for people experiencing mental health challenges that, while not disrupting their routines, still impact their overall well-being.
IOPs are usually the next step down after completing a PHP, however, they can also benefit people who have recently undergone a traumatic experience requiring mental health assistance.
The main goal of an intensive outpatient program is to provide patients with the tools and skills they need to manage their mental health challenges while still being able to live at home and fulfill their daily responsibilities.
Compared to PHPs, IOPs take place less frequently and tend to be more flexible in scheduling. For example, Valle Vista Health System’s intensive outpatient program for adults takes place three times per week, with evening hours available to accommodate those with busy day schedules. Our intensive outpatient program for adolescents also provides different tracks and options that fit each patient’s needs.
Why Choose a Structured Program?
Choosing a structured mental health program can offer several benefits.
- Clear treatment plan: Mental health programs provide a clear and organized treatment roadmap. Each patient has different goals, objectives and steps to take when it comes to their mental wellbeing. Mental health professionals can help patients outline a path toward healing and set realistic expectations for how the program will help them
- Consistency and routine: Structured mental health programs follow a consistent schedule and routine. Sometimes, people with mental health struggles lack a clear sense of direction or routine with their mental health care. A structured program can help set long-term healthy habits and routines even after the conclusion of the program.
- Continued support and guidance: Mental health programs typically include a team of professionals there to provide support and guidance during the treatment process. This can help patients realize that they are not alone and that help is possible,
- Accountability: Along with helping patients establish consistency and routines, structured mental health programs also hold patients accountable for their progress. Given the regular nature of these programs, patients receive regular check-ins ensuring they are on the right path and making positive changes in their lives.
- A holistic approach to treatment: Mental health programs also provide a holistic approach to mental health treatment. They usually take a 360-degree approach to treatment, which increases the chances of long-term recovery, prevents relapse and leads to improved well-being.
Help Is Right Here
If you are experiencing mental health concerns, Valle Vista Health System is here to help. For over 40 years, we have made it our mission to provide comprehensive and compassionate behavioral health care to the members of our community.
Located in Greenwood, Indiana, Valle Vista Health System provides supportive inpatient and outpatient programs to adults and adolescents suffering from a variety of psychiatric conditions. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals provides individualized treatment to each patient, paving the path toward renewed mental well-being and long-term recovery.