Posts

Mental Health: Types of Treatment

By: Mirna Pacheco, LPC

People are more comfortable seeking help for emotional challenges than ever before. The need continues to rise, particularly during COVID-19. But the good thing is that as the need for mental health services increases, so have the options for those services and how telehealth has increased access to services.

Knowing that help is available provides hope, but important questions like, “where do I go?” “what kind of services do I need?” remain. Thankfully, NOAH’s team has some answers.

This guide shares information about different types of mental health treatment. The type of treatment will always depend on each individual and situation. Learning about the different treatment options is important to address stigma around seeking professional help.

Here are the main types of treatment currently available in mental health: 

  • Outpatient Mental Health Treatment:

This is the most traditional level of care where individuals meet with a mental health provider either for psychiatric care and/or counseling services.  Patients meet anywhere from once a week, once a month, or as needed for care.  Outpatient treatment can include services like general mental health for adults, children, and groups; people with serious mental illnesses; specific programs for conditions like substance abuse and eating disorders. Treatment usually starts with a full assessment and creating an individualized treatment plan. This ensures someone gets the proper treatment and level of care.  Depending on the treatment setting, services could include mental health counseling, medication management, case management, and group therapy. 

  • Outpatient Intensive Programs:

Outpatient Intensive Program (IOP) usually refers to types of rehabilitation for individuals who suffer from addiction problems. But IOP can also help people who are facing different types of conditions like eating disorders and depression. This level of care allows people to continue an intensive treatment – typically between three to five days a week – while allowing them to go home, maintain a job, or engage in educational activities in-between treatments. IOP treatment includes group therapy often combined with individual counseling, case management, psychiatric care, and support groups.

  • Residential Mental Health Treatment:

This level of care focuses on a specific type of treatment for mental health. Some centers specialize in long term substance abuse programs while others may provide an intensive treatment for eating disorders.  These programs provide intensive treatment usually for 30 to 90 days and will help individuals learn skills for long term recovery.

  • Psychiatric Hospitalization or Inpatient Care:

This type of care and treatment is for individuals who might be experiencing severe emotional distress to the level of requiring close monitoring. Hospitalization or inpatient care can also be used to continually evaluate and properly diagnose people who need help with mood stabilization and medication adjustment.  Psychiatric hospitalization can be brief, typically 3 to 14 days. After that, the patient will get an evaluation and referral to a long-term level of care, IOP, or outpatient services.

No matter who you are or what you are going through, there is a treatment program and level of care that is right for you. Beyond what is listed above, there are also:

  • 24-hour crisis providers
  • Suicide prevention programs
  • Short-term or long-term residential programs for children with behavioral health conditions
  • Vocational rehabilitation programs for adults and adolescents
  • Different levels of care for substance addiction and eating disorders
  • Referrals to 12-step programs, support groups, and alternative treatments

Life will have challenges. Some days and life experiences will be more difficult than others. But now you know there are programs and support to help you overcome these challenges. One of the benefits of working with NOAH is the integrated approach to healthcare. By working with mental health providers to address those concerns, you will improve other areas of your health as well. Additionally, a medical doctor or nurse can make a simple referral for additional services throughout NOAH. Learn more or request an appointment today.

Children’s Mental Health & Learning During COVID: A Series

By Zach Clay, Licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy

During this unprecedented and often challenging time, we should consider the impact it has on children. The COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly tough for children’s mental health and their ability to learn. NOAH’s Behavioral Health team shares expert insight, best practices, and resources in this series of posts to help children maintain mental health in the era of COVID-19, social distancing, and distance learning.  

Help children understand COVID

It is approximately 11 months after the COVID-19 pandemic began. In many ways, we are still adjusting to different phases of routines and “normal” life activities, and that includes children. Parents and caregivers should be able to talk about the impacts of the virus to help children understand without causing them to feel overly worried or anxious. NOAH experts support the following recommendations from the Child Mind Institute to help guide parents and other caregivers in these conversations with children.

  • Welcome their questions. Kids have questions! Any parent, teacher, grandparent, neighbor, babysitter, and friend knows that children have many questions. It’s a good thing because curiosity is an important quality in kids. Questions can range from serious, like “Will Grandma be okay?” to the much less serious, like “Will my favorite videogame store still be there?”. Encourage their questions and take their concerns seriously. Your goal is to help your children be heard and to answer their questions with fact-based information.
  • Don’t avoid questions you can’t answer. Telling a child “I don’t know.” is an acceptable answer when it is the truth. There is a lot of uncertainty right now, and things change frequently. While we want to tell our children that everything will be “back to normal soon,” we may not know. Helping your child learn how to accept uncertainty is key to reducing anxiety and helping them build resilience.
  • Be developmentally appropriate. Being honest is important, but that doesn’t mean giving too much information which can be overwhelming or confusing for children. Answer their questions honestly and clearly, and if they have follow-up questions they will ask because you have shown them you will answer their questions.
  • Deal with your own anxiety. We are living through a global pandemic and economic crisis. This isn’t an easy or normal situation for anyone of any age. It’s okay, and expected, for parents or caregivers to have sadness, stress, or anxiety about everything happening. But don’t try to talk to your children about their questions or stresses if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Take some time before having a conversation or answering your child’s questions because it will be hard to help them if you are struggling. If you are experiencing stress and anxiety about COVID-19 or anything else, NOAH’s counseling team is available.
  • Be reassuring. Children may be worried that they will catch the virus or become afraid other people they care about will become sick. Reassure them that children don’t usually get very sick, and that as a family you are doing everything you can to keep them – and other people – safe and healthy by wearing masks, socially distancing, and following other recommendations.
  • Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe. Children will feel safe by having parents and other caregivers emphasize the safety measures that you, and others around you (like teachers, coaches, etc.) are taking. Remind kids that washing their hands is helping everyone by stopping the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Keep talking to your kids. When they know you will answer their questions, help find answers together, tell them the truth, and help them feel calm and safe, they will likely keep talking. Many children (and adults) are visual learners and might enjoy learning about the virus with a comic book created by NPR. More on this series for Children’s Mental Health & Learning During COVID to come!

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month by Cody Randall, PA-C Psychiatric Services

Disparities in access to healthcare exist across all specialties. This proves to be especially true when it comes to mental healthcare, and even more so among minority populations.

A number of barriers exist for patients seeking mental health services including healthcare worker shortage, disparity of access to appropriate medical insurance coverage, stigma of receiving mental healthcare and the fragmented relationship of medical and mental health services. Healthcare providers/organizations can take practical steps to improve patient access by:

  • Making mental health screenings a staple component of primary medical care.
  • Recognizing the social/cultural aspects of a patient population that may impact a patient’s medical and mental health.
  • Medical organizations can conduct community health needs assessments (CHNA) in their patient communities to identify specific needs and limitations among the minority populations that they serve. In identifying these needs of their communities organizations and individual medical providers can help to ensure that patients of minority populations receive quality and affordable mental health services.
  • Working towards a more collaborative approach between medical and mental health practices/providers to reduce barriers to care.

A patient’s care is often more than just medication. The greatest care cannot help unless a patient has support/resources in place to provide them with access to this care and fundamental life necessities. 

For more information on National Mental Health Awareness Month as well as information on general mental health visit the Nation Awareness on Mental Illness (NAMI) at https://www.nami.org/home.