Next Steps After Finishing Inpatient Therapy
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Stepping out of an inpatient therapy center after addressing mental health challenges is a brave and significant milestone. You’re not alone — many individuals embark on this journey each year. As you wrap up your inpatient treatment, you might be pondering the next steps. In this guide, we’ll explore post-inpatient treatment options designed to support you on the path to lasting recovery. 

Why do I need an aftercare plan? 

It’s important to continue your progress after every milestone on your mental health journey. Seeking the immediate help that you need for a mental health crisis is something to be proud of. After you’re discharged from inpatient treatment, you must ask yourself, “What now?”

An aftercare plan lays out the next steps you should be taking after inpatient care to continue to improve your mental health. A well-thought-out plan ensures a smooth transition from inpatient to outpatient care. It helps maintain continuity in the treatment process, preventing disruptions in therapy and support by making sure you develop the skills and insight you need to improve your overall quality of life.

An aftercare plan should also include the creation of a crisis intervention plan. It’s meant to minimize the damage and understand the best response in the case of a future crisis. You should create your plan as a collaboration with your mental health provider.

An aftercare plan can help you:

  • Understand what to expect as treatment in the near future
  • Set short- and long-term mental health goals
  • Reduce the risk of a future mental health crisis
  • Be optimistic and hopeful about your future mental health 

What are some common post-treatment challenges I should prepare for? 

While the hard work that you put into your health during inpatient treatment was important, that work is not over. There are plenty of challenges that you have to prepare yourself to face as you take the next steps following a mental health crisis. An aftercare plan should take these challenges into account.

  • Medication management — Medication management is integral to inpatient treatment care. But it can be difficult to carry out the regiment after you’re discharged. By working with a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist, you can determine the safest and most effective medication plan that’s realistic for you.
  • Reintegrating into daily life — It can seem jarring when you walk out of an inpatient treatment facility. It can make you feel like you were removed from the outside world. The key to reentering your regular routine, and returning to your responsibilities, is by not rushing into it before you’re ready. Slowly integrate minor things back into your life, bit by bit. Do a simple chore or reach out to a friend.
  • Self-advocacy skills One of the biggest challenges following inpatient treatment is ensuring that you protect your recovery. You don’t want to diminish the progress you made. You can work with your therapist to develop self-advocacy skills. These are tools you need to take control when you feel like your progress is at risk. For example, it’s important that you stay firm against situations that you know could trigger your disorder symptoms or distress.

What levels of care are worth considering after I finish inpatient therapy?

There are several options for those who’ve just finished inpatient treatment. They offer varying degrees of intensity. Your provider will determine which level of care will be the most beneficial for you. They’ll look at the severity of your disorder symptoms and how much supervision you require. Some of the options include:

  • Residential Treatment Program Residential Treatment Programs are a good option for those who’ve just completed treatment in a hospital and still need a significant level of support. They provide 24/7 behavioral support in a home-like environment. While it may sound similar to inpatient treatment, Residential Treatment Programs are a long-term option. You stay there for approximately one month in a non-hospital setting and follow a structured routine including group sessions and movement opportunities.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) — PHPs, also known as Day Treatment Programs, last approximately 30 days, with programming being held for five to seven days a week. They can be an effective step for clients who’ve recently completed inpatient therapy because you receive intensive treatment but you don’t require overnight supervision. It helps you to focus on your mental health while integrating back into your daily life with coping strategies and self-preservation skills.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) — Intensive Outpatient Programs can provide a high level of support to people who need it while encouraging autonomy and independence after inpatient treatment. They last approximately 20 days with programming being scheduled for three to five days a week without overnight stays.

Lightfully provides a soft landing and comprehensive aftercare support for clients transitioning out of inpatient treatment

If you’ve recently completed inpatient therapy, we’re here to help you continue your progress. We believe in using a focused approach to process-based therapy, which provides whole-person-centered care. You are more than your disorder.

Whatever your mental health challenges may be, Lightfully would love the opportunity to walk alongside and support you as you pursue the brightest version of you. Contact our Admissions Concierge Team today to learn more.

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