When you are seeking mental health treatment for yourself or a loved one, it is important to understand the many programming options that are available to you. These options include level of care, length of stay, and types of treatment. In this post, we explore the features and benefits of long-term mental health care.
What Qualifies as Long-Term Mental Health Care?
There is no standard, universally agreed-upon length of time that delineates short-term treatment from long-term mental health care. Having noted that, it’s safe to say that most programs that are described as long-term include more than 30 days of treatment.
Some long-term mental health care facilities offer 60-day and 90-day options, while others serve patients who need to receive care for several months or even years.
What Happens During Long-Term Mental Health Care?
As is the case with traditional short-term programs, long-term mental health care may include a variety of therapies and support services. Ideally, each person who receives care should follow an individualized treatment plan that is based on a thorough assessment of their history, needs, and goals.
Depending on these personal factors, long-term mental health care may include services such as:
- Medication management services
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Individual and group therapy
- Family therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Holistic therapy
- Genetic testing
- Neurofeedback therapy
- Biosound therapy
Long-term mental health facilities also offer features such as:
- Round-the-clock supervision
- Comfortable patient rooms
- Nutritious meals
- Structured recreational activities
- Family support services
Who Can Benefit from Long-Term Mental Health Care?
Long-term mental health care is designed for people whose needs exceed the services that they can receive at a lower level of care. If this sounds like long-term programs may serve a wide-ranging potential patient population, that’s because they do.
In many cases, long-term care is the ideal option for people who have been living with complex mental health concerns or experiencing severe symptoms. Disorders that may be treated via long-term care include the following:
- Anxiety disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Schizoaffective disorder
Long-term programs may also be appropriate for dual-diagnosis patients. Dual diagnosis is the clinical term for someone who has both a mental illness and a substance use disorder (addiction).
Please note that this is not a complete list of every disorder that may be treated in a mental health program. Admissions decisions for long-term care should always be made on a case-by-case basis.
Benefits of Long-Term Mental Health Care
The specific benefits that a person receives from long-term mental health care will depend on their unique strengths, needs, and goals. In general, though, anyone who participates in extended treatment may benefit from features such as safety, structure, sustained progress, comprehensive support, and personalized aftercare planning.
When someone has been struggling with complex mental health needs or experiencing particularly severe symptoms, their safety is often a primary concern. Certain mental illnesses can cause a person to act in a manner that can endanger other people, but in most cases it is the individual who has the mental illness who is at greatest risk.
When a person is in a mental health treatment facility, they benefit from round-the-clock supervision by trained professionals, as well as policies and procedures that are designed to safeguard their well-being.
Change can be difficult for anyone. But when someone is living with a complex mental health condition, disruptions to their daily routine can be especially distressing.
During a person’s time in a mental health facility, they will follow a structured daily schedule. This stability – and the familiarity that the individual can develop during their extended time in treatment – can be a source of great comfort and promote true healing.
Short-term programs can help people establish a foundation for improved health and continued progress. But so much of the work that will be necessary to make (and maintain) that continued progress will occur after the patient has completed treatment and returned home.
In a long-term mental health treatment center, patients can continue to advance in their recovery, address setbacks in a productive manner, and achieve sustained progress, all under the care and supervision of a team of experienced professionals.
When the patient is ready to transition out of long-term care, they will have already achieved many of their goals, and they will be much better prepared to meet the challenges of daily life in a non-treatment environment.
In many cases, the full scope of a person’s mental health needs is not uncovered until they are already enrolled in treatment. For example, many people who have schizophrenia also have a history of untreated trauma, while bipolar disorder is commonly accompanied by substance abuse and addiction.
In a short-term program, co-occurring mental and behavioral health concerns may not become apparent until the patient is approaching the end of their stay. In a long-term treatment environment, the patient and their caregivers will have the time to identify and address all of the issues and concerns that have prevented them from living a healthier life.
Personalized Aftercare Planning
An effective aftercare plan should reflect the progress that the patient made while in treatment as well as their continued needs. The longer a person remains in treatment, the better prepared their team will be to develop a truly personalized discharge or aftercare plan.
By the time an individual completes their stay in a long-term mental health program, they should be connected with the community-based services and resources that will support them in the months and years to come.
Find Mental Health Care in Atlanta, GA
Peachtree Wellness Center offers a variety of treatment options, including long-term mental health care, for adults in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. Features of care at our center include customized treatment plans, multiple therapies, structured daily schedules, and robust aftercare planning.
To learn more about our services or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our admissions page or call us today.