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Outpatient Mental Health

writtenByWritten by: Sydney Garrow
Sydney Garrow

Sydney Garrow

Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.

Read more posts by this author.

January 13, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

What is Outpatient Mental Health Treatment?

Outpatient mental health treatment is a care program that allows a patient to receive mental health services on a part-time basis. This treatment allows the patient to leave the facility and go home after spending some time in their program.

The part-time nature of outpatient mental health treatment allows people to still go to work or school, or spend time at home with family.

Outpatient mental health treatment is just one more treatment option to help deal with the symptoms associated with different mental illnesses. This program aims to help patients deal with mental health struggles, such as addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, or other unmanageable mental health disorders. 

If you have already tried different forms of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, outpatient therapy is another way to help manage mental illness symptoms and make your everyday life easier. 

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

Outpatient Mental Health Care vs Inpatient Care

Some characteristics of outpatient mental health care include: 

  • Staying at home, but going to treatment for some part of the day
  • Lower success rates than inpatient care (due to less intensive care)
  • Affordability (since you don’t have to pay for housing)
  • Being able to maintain your normal daily routine to some extent
  • Access to a support group that can relate to your struggles
  • Effective for those with mental illnesses that don’t require extensive, 24-hour care
  • Usually around 10-12 hours a week 
  • Could last a few months to a year 

For some, inpatient care for mental health might be necessary, especially if a doctor or psychiatrist has deemed them a danger to themself or others.

Some basic foundations of inpatient mental health programs include: 

  • Staying at a facility 24/7 for some period of time
  • Higher success rates than other programs due to extensive and immersive care
  • Greater expense (since they are round-the-clock programs)
  • Being disruptive to daily life
  • Medical and emotional support at all times
  • Can last a month to 6 months 
  • Lack of distractions (complete immersion in your program)
  • Helpful for serious mental disorders that require immediate care 

If you believe that you or someone else requires inpatient or outpatient mental health care, speaking to a doctor or psychiatrist can help you make your decision. 

Who Should Seek Outpatient Mental Health Care? 

Outpatient mental health programs can be extremely helpful for those who find that their mental health struggles have become unmanageable or dangerous for themselves or others. 

Typically, inpatient mental health programs or rehab programs work better for those who require around-the-clock support. If someone is harming themselves, harming others, has a history of relapse, or an inadequate or triggering living situation, it might be necessary to seek inpatient care. 

What Are Mental Health Treatment Options? 

Besides inpatient and outpatient mental health programs, there are other options available for mental health treatment.

  • Talk therapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

There are all kinds of treatments, and combinations of several that can bring relief from the symptoms of mental illness. Finding a great therapist can be helpful in building a treatment plan.

A mental health specialist can guide you towards treatments, recommend programs such as outpatient mental health programs, and assist in monitoring the efficiency of your treatment plan.  

Outpatient Mental Health Programs 

If you have a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist, they can recommend a program to you. You can discuss whether inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment, or a different combination of treatments, would be best for you.

You can also search for outpatient mental health programs in your area to see what is available, what your insurance accepts, and more. It’s always a good idea to speak to a specialist about your options, especially someone who has been involved in your mental health treatment plan thus far. 

You can talk to therapists or doctors from PlushCare from the comfort of your home, and decide if outpatient mental health programs might be the right option for you. 

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

When is Outpatient Mental Health Care Necessary? 

When trying out treatments for mental illness, going to either an inpatient or outpatient facility is usually not the first option that people seek out. Talking to a therapist, psychiatrist, doctor, or any kind of mental health care specialist can bring you clarity about whether or not you need to seek out more extensive care. 

If you feel that your mental illness is unmanageable, or you are a danger to yourself or others, it might be time to start talking about inpatient or outpatient mental health facility options. 

Having a therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor to speak to could be helpful in deciding whether or not outpatient mental health care is a viable option for you.

If you believe that you or someone else might need inpatient or outpatient mental health care, speaking to a mental health specialist is always a good idea.

If you find yourself or a friend in a situation that is dangerous for them or someone else, you can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Online Options for Outpatient Mental Health Care 

Although you usually need to go to a facility for outpatient treatment, there are options for programs, support groups, and therapy online. You might even be able to create your own “program” through combining multiple resources like a therapist, online support group, and prescriptions monitored by a psychiatrist or doctor.

Having a doctor or therapist to help you find the right outpatient mental health program, or work with you to create a custom treatment program, can be incredibly helpful. And it ensures that your mental health is monitored by a specialist. 

PlushCare connects you with board-certified doctors and therapists online, all from the comfort of your home. Book a convenient online mental health appointment today.


Read More About Outpatient Mental Health


Please Note: PlushCare does not have online psychiatrists at this time. That said, our primary care physicians are able to prescribe mental health medications such as antidepressants, and if necessary can provide you with a referral to a psychiatrist.

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

MentalHealth.gov. Get Immediate Help. Accessed on January 13, 2021. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help

National Alliance on Mental Illness. The Value of Structured Outpatient Treatment. Accessed on January 13, 2021. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/April-2020/The-Value-of-Structured-Outpatient-Treatment

Mayo Clinic. Mental Illness. Accessed on February 9, 2021 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968#:~:text=Mental%20illness%2C%20also%20called%20mental,eating%20disorders%20and%20addictive%20behaviors.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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