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What to Pack for Inpatient Mental Health Treatment

Knowing what to expect at a mental health treatment center can eliminate fear of the unknown and prepare you for a successful experience. In addition to reviewing any information that the center has provided about the services you’ll be receiving and the professionals you’ll be working with, it’s also important to get a list of what to pack for inpatient mental health treatment and what items you should leave at home.

What to Pack for Inpatient Mental Health Treatment

The best source of information on what to pack for inpatient mental health treatment is the admissions director at the center where you will be receiving care. Each center or facility has its own rules and policies about what to bring with you and what to leave at home.

Having established that, the following are examples of the items that patients are typically encouraged or permitted to bring with them when they enter an inpatient program:

  • A few days’ worth of comfortable clothing, including socks and underwear
  • A light jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt
  • Comfortable footwear such as slip-on sandals or slippers
  • Personal grooming and hygiene items (except those that contain alcohol, have sharp objects, or are stored in glass containers)
  • A small amount of cash for use in vending machines
  • A small number of books or magazines
  • A diary or journal
  • A few photos of family and friends

When you’re packing your clothes, remember that some inpatient mental health treatment centers do not allow patients to have belts, shoelaces, or other items with strings (such as hoodies or sweats with drawstring closures). Be sure to confirm what the clothing restrictions are at the center you will be attending.

Also, if you are taking any prescription medications, let the center know this ahead of time. They may allow you to bring medication with you (in a sealed container with proof that it has been prescribed to you) or they may prefer to provide you with medication from an on-site pharmacy.

Items You Shouldn’t Bring to Mental Health Treatment

In addition to knowing what to pack for inpatient mental health treatment, it is equally important to be aware of what you should plan to leave at home. Mental health centers typically prohibit items for two general reasons:

  • They could threaten the safety of patients, staff, or visitors
  • They could undermine the effectiveness of the treatment environment

As we mentioned when discussing what to pack for mental health treatment in the previous section, lists of banned items can vary from one center to the next – so if you have questions about your packing list, it’s always best to contact an admissions representative or another knowledgeable person at the center where you will be receiving care.

In general, most facilities advise patients not to bring the following types of items with them when they enter treatment:

  • Alcohol, other drugs, and drug paraphernalia
  • Anything that contains alcohol (including some mouthwashes and medications)
  • Food and beverages
  • Revealing clothing
  • Clothing or other items that promote the use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Scissors, knives, or other sharp objects (including mirrors and other glass items that could be broken and used to cut)
  • Matches, lighters, aerosols, candles, and other items that could pose a fire hazard
  • An excessive amount of cash
  • Jewelry
  • Cell phones, tablets, portable music players, computers, and other electronic devices 
  • Pillows and blankets

If you use tobacco, be sure to discuss this with the center prior to your arrival for intake. Some inpatient mental health treatment centers prohibit all tobacco products, while others allow limited use of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. 

How to Prepare for Inpatient Mental Health Treatment

Confirming what you can and cannot bring with you is just one part of preparing for inpatient mental health treatment. Here are a few other tips to help you have the most successful experience while you’re receiving care:

  • Plan to fully engage in all treatment activities to the best of your ability. If you are uncomfortable about a particular therapeutic or recreational activity, or you don’t understand something about it, express your concerns to a member of your treatment team. They can provide you with the clarity and support you need, so that you can receive maximum benefit from the activity.
  • Understand that the members of your treatment team have your best interests at heart. They may make decisions that you don’t agree with, but their actions should be based on what’s best for your mental health, for your safety, and for the safety of other patients, staff members, and visitors.
  • Expect to interact with other patients. You may have a roommate, you will likely take part in group therapy, and you will likely share time with other people during meals and supervised leisure or recreational time. Sharing support with others who have had similar challenges and who are working toward similar goals can be a valuable component of your care.
  • Remember that group settings can also be ideal opportunities to develop more effective communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills. Intend to treat others with the compassion and respect that you expect to be shown in return. Of course, if you feel that another patient poses a threat to your health or safety, you should immediately express this concern to a staff member. 

Change can be difficult – even when you know that a certain change is going to lead to improved health and quality of life. Being nervous or hesitant when you’re entering a program is both normal and understandable – but don’t let your initial worries prevent you from making the most of your time in treatment. 

Being ready to participate fully, ask questions, express your concerns in an acceptable manner, collaborate with your treatment team, and treat others with respect can increase your likelihood of having a positive, successful experience.

Find Inpatient Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta

Peachtree Wellness Solutions offers a full continuum of comprehensive, personalized treatment for adults who have developed anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and a range of additional mental health concerns. 

Our inpatient mental health treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, is a safe and welcoming space where patients can receive a customized array of evidence-based services from a team of experienced and compassionate professionals.

To learn more about how we can help you or someone that you care about, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.