What does an inpatient mental health facility stay look like?

We all struggle with our mental health at times, but where do you go when it gets to be too much? If your mental health or disorder has taken a sudden or extreme toll on your emotional, psychological, and even physical health, then your mental health provider may recommend, or insist, that you be admitted into an inpatient mental health facility.

It can be confusing to understand what a stay at an inpatient mental health facility will entail, especially when compared to other types of mental health facilities.

Read on to learn about the basics of inpatient mental health, what you can expect from a stay and how it’s different from other treatment facilities.

The basics of inpatient mental health

An inpatient mental health facility refers to a psychiatric hospital or hospital unit for people who require intensive care for their mental health issues. It allows you to receive 24/7 care by both hospital and behavioral services to help you through a mental health crisis. 

The goal of a hospitalized stay is to reduce your symptoms through proper medication and treatment techniques. Not only can inpatient treatment decrease your risk of suicidality and harm to yourself/others, but you will also gain coping mechanisms and confidence that will continue to benefit you after you’re discharged.

There are many reasons why you may be admitted into an inpatient hospitalized facility, including:

  • Severe emotional or psychological distress 
  • Worsening mental health symptoms
  • Psychosis
  • Self-harm behaviors
  • Posing a danger to others
  • Suicidality

What to expect from an inpatient mental health facility

If your mental health is already interfering with your ability to handle your daily responsibilities, it can be even harder to imagine what to expect from inpatient mental health treatment. We’re here to help ease the fear of the unknown by letting you know what you will likely experience.

Before you’re admitted, you’ll be evaluated and may be asked to have blood drawn or give a urine sample. These will test for any medical conditions that may impact the type of medications that you’re prescribed during your stay.

The length of a stay at an inpatient hospitalized facility is different for everyone, as the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. On average, a hospitalized stay can last three to seven days. The time frame depends on how effective the treatment is on your symptoms.

You will have a treatment plan that’s designed to specifically fit the needs of your condition. The plan will include a schedule of meals, classes and recreation. You may have several types of therapy sessions including individual, group and family therapy. 

Depending on your condition, you may be allowed visitors, but there are likely to be restrictions on the quantity of people who can visit you at one time.

How is inpatient mental health care different from other facilities?

Inpatient mental health facilities provide the highest level of care for psychological issues. If you’re experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, then inpatient care is the best option for your safety and the safety of those around you.

It’s often confused with residential treatment centers, as both provide 24/7 care. An inpatient facility is for a short, hospitalized visit with intensive medical care. On the other hand, a residential facility offers a “homelike” setting for a long-term stay. A residential treatment stay can last up to three months. Depending on the state of your mental health, you may transfer from an inpatient facility to a residential treatment center.

The opposite of an inpatient facility is an outpatient facility, which doesn’t provide 24/7 care. Outpatient mental health care allows for people to get the treatment they need during the day while still being able to go home after their programs. This allows them to balance their mental health treatment with daily responsibilities, such as work, school or family. It shouldn’t be considered for an urgent mental health crisis.

Lightfully Behavioral Health can help after your inpatient mental health care stay

Once you know what to expect from an inpatient mental health care facility, the fear fades away and you can focus on alleviating your severe mental health distress. And once the facility has provided immediate treatment, you can give us a call.

At Lightfully, we offer four programs that can help you after you’ve been discharged from a hospitalized psychiatric stay: residential treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also called our Day Treatment Program.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step after inpatient mental health care, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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