Inpatient & Outpatient Mental Health: Useful Things to Know

Mental health is an important factor in living a healthy life. For people who cope with mental illness, seeking help from a professional is integral for their well-being.

Inpatient and outpatient services are two different types of care that are available to those seeking help with their mental health. But what exactly do “inpatient” and “outpatient” services entail? How are they different?

In this blog, we’ll compare these types of care so you can understand how each service treats mental health disorders differently.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Services

Inpatient Care

Outpatient and inpatient services both focus on improving a person’s mental health. However, inpatient services take a more comprehensive, around-the-clock approach to care. Individuals stay at a mental health facility to receive 24-hour access to medical and emotional support in a safe environment. This option is typically for people experiencing severe mental illnesses, mental health crises, or substance abuse disorders. Patients may stay for a few nights or several months, depending on their personal situation.

Outpatient Care

With outpatient care, individuals meet with their mental health providers regularly. Appointments can range from multiple meetings per week to biweekly or monthly meetings. However, outpatient services do not involve prolonged stays at a mental health facility. Patients continue to manage their responsibilities at home, school, or work while pursuing treatment, which can include medication, psychotherapy, group sessions, or other remedies as prescribed by their providers.

From One to Another

Inpatient and outpatient differ in their intensity of treatment. However, they are not mutually exclusive. Patients may start with one type of care and transition to the other, depending on their needs. This can be common for people with a substance abuse disorder, who may benefit from extra support on their road to recovery. It’s also for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need help with reconnecting to healthy coping skills and support.

Overall, it is essential to understand the differences between inpatient and outpatient mental health care so that you can make informed choices about what will work best for you or a loved one.

At Rural Psychiatry Associates, we coordinate with health organizations to provide inpatient and outpatient services, but also work with individuals to determine the best type of care for their personal circumstances. With the right care plan in place, people can take steps toward living healthier lives emotionally, mentally, and physically.

To learn more about our mental health services, contact us today.

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