A Patient’s Guide to Mental Health Treatment

Last updated on May 30th, 2024 at 07:30 pm

Many of us have a hard time admitting when we’re struggling with our mental health, especially if we grew up in a time or place where mental health conditions were stigmatized. But for all the reluctance, mental health treatment often makes a huge difference. 

Making an appointment for mental health treatment is a courageous step towards a brighter tomorrow. The right type of care will not only help you manage your mental health in the short term, but also help you develop a better quality of life in the long term. 

Finding the right mental health support is a unique and personal experience. There are different options available, each offering its own set of benefits. With a care professional’s guidance, you may decide to seek one of the many forms of outpatient care, or you may find that you need more intensive inpatient care. 

In this guide, we will explore some of the most common ways you can receive mental health support. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions on your journey to well-being.


What is Mental Health Treatment?

Mental health treatment is much like physical health treatment, but for the mind, thoughts, and emotions instead of other parts of the body. Just like you’d visit a doctor for a physical ailment, seeking mental health treatment means reaching out for assistance when you’re feeling overwhelmed mentally or emotionally.

These treatments come in various forms, just like physical health treatments. In some cases, your treatment will mean talking with a counselor, therapist, or group of people facing the same issues. In other cases, you may explore medication options. Sometimes treatment involves expressing yourself through art in a non-pressuring setting or learning mindfulness techniques. 

Often, mental health treatment gives you a “toolkit” of different strategies designed to help you navigate your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It’s a collaborative process where professionals work with you to understand your unique situation and develop a plan that fits your needs, helping you move towards a happier and healthier life. The goal is to provide you with whatever support you need to manage your mental health effectively.


The Benefits of Seeking Mental Health Treatment

Mental health treatment can add to your well-being and quality of life in so many ways, especially in the long run after beginning your treatment. Here are a few of the benefits that many people experience:

  • Symptom management: Mental health treatment is designed to address your symptoms and their causes, just like physical health treatment. As a result, treatment often allows you to function better in your daily life, both personally and professionally.
  • Improved emotional state: Mental health treatment helps you navigate, understand, and deal with your emotions. Patients often find that treatment leads to more stable or positive emotional states on the average day, as well as an improved outlook on life.
  • Reduced stress: Some types of mental health treatment will teach you stress management techniques and healthy coping mechanisms to reduce the impact of your daily stressors.
  • Empowerment: Many people come to mental health treatment in part because they feel that they don’t have control over themselves or their lives. Mental health treatment can give you the tools you need to actively take charge of your life.
  • Improved relationships: Mental health treatment often addresses issues that negatively affect your relationships and teaches you better interpersonal strategies based on your life situation.
  • Personal growth: Treatment often leads to reflection, increased awareness of how you react to different situations, and the tools for personal growth in the areas that matter most to you.
  • Relapse management: Depending on the type of issue you are seeking help with, you may have concerns about relapsing. Mental health treatment can often help you identify and manage potential triggers, reducing the risk of relapse.
  • Support on your journey to well-being or recovery: Mental health professionals are there to support you. They can guide you and help you feel less alone.
  • Increased life satisfaction: Treatment can equip you with the tools, strategies, and emotional support you need to lead a more fulfilling life.


Types of Mental Health Treatment

There are two very broad categories of mental health treatment: inpatient and outpatient care

Outpatient care is the most common and less intensive of the two. It includes any type of mental health services where the patient is not staying at a special facility. For example, having appointments with a therapist while otherwise continuing on with your regular life at home, work, and/or school would be considered outpatient care.

Inpatient care is an intensive treatment approach that is usually recommended for people who are at risk of self-harm, have a history of relapse, or are triggered by their living situations. It involves checking into a mental health facility for continuous, structured support in a controlled environment that is conducive to personal growth. Often, people will seek inpatient care during a crisis and then transition to outpatient services after the worst part of the crisis has passed.

Within both the outpatient and inpatient categories, there are many different treatment types. Here are some of the most common ones.


1. Individual Psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy, or talk therapy, involves one-on-one sessions between a client and a therapist. It often uses therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT, which we’ll discuss more below) to address specific issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or personality disorders.


2. Group Therapy

Group therapy brings together individuals facing similar mental health challenges to create a sense of community and support. Facilitated by a trained therapist, it’s often effective for issues like addiction, eating disorders, and social anxiety. Other group members can provide both insights and camaraderie.


3. Family Therapy

Family therapy involves family members in the process of addressing mental health and relationship concerns. It’s often recommended for conditions like addiction and mood disorders, as well as any situation where relationship dynamics are a factor. This type of therapy aims to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and enhance overall family dynamics.


4. Medication Management

Sometimes mental health treatment involves medication, which is overseen by a psychiatrist, doctor, or psychiatric nurse practitioner. Medication often complements other approaches by helping you regain control over your emotions so you can implement other mental health strategies more effectively.


5. Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

IOPs offer a more comprehensive level of care than standard outpatient treatments. They’re designed for people who need frequent and structured support but not 24/7 care. IOP programs often include a combination of group therapy, individual therapy, medication management, and/or psychoeducation.


6. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Programs

CBT is a form of treatment that focuses on the interconnected relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It’s often used to manage conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, and PTSD. For this treatment, you work closely with a therapist to identify and challenge negative thought patterns, then build the skills you need to live a more fulfilling life.


7. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Programs

DBT, a specialized form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps you manage emotions and develop coping skills. It often addresses conditions like borderline personality disorder and self-harm behaviors. Programs can include individual and group therapy, skills training, phone coaching, and more.


8. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

EMDR therapy is often used for trauma-related conditions like PTSD, among others. It uses eye movements or bilateral stimulation to help you reprocess traumatic memories, reducing the emotional charge and promoting forward progress.


9. Art or Music Therapy

These alternative therapy methods provide expressive outlets for individuals who may have a hard time articulating their feelings verbally. Activities like painting, drawing, or sculpting (art therapy) and listening to or creating music (music therapy) offer avenues for self-expression, emotional exploration, and stress reduction.


10. Mindfulness-Based Programs

Treatments like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are often used to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. These programs cultivate present-moment awareness, non-judgmental observation of thoughts, and increased self-awareness in ways that promote improved emotional management and a better quality of life.


Dual Diagnosis and Mental Health Treatment

mental health during uncertain times

Mental health conditions often coexist with substance use disorders or other behavioral health conditions, which is referred to as dual diagnosis. In this scenario, treatment integrates the psychological factors that trigger substance abuse or other unwanted behaviors, addressing both challenges simultaneously. 

Depending on your situation, there may be both outpatient and inpatient treatment options for effective dual diagnosis treatment.


How Sunrise Can Help with Mental Health Outpatient Treatment

Sunrise Services provides a range of outpatient mental and behavioral health treatments in the Puget Sound area, including individual therapy, group therapy, behavioral health case management, and specialized programs. With a focus on integrating services to treat the whole person, Sunrise delivers compassionate care for individuals with various mental health diagnoses or concerns.

Mental health treatment aims to improve your overall well-being. Sunrise is here to help you find quality mental health care so you can make lasting, positive changes in your life. Get in touch with us today if you’re looking for treatment options.

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