Types of Mental Health Facilities
There are several types of mental health facilities and the best mental health facility for you depends on your needs. You may need a facility that is focused around short-term stays or a long-term mental health facility. Public or private care may be options for you depending on your situation and on your insurance (How To Get Disability Benefits For Mental Illness). No matter what your mental health concern, there is a mental health facility that can help you.
Outpatient or Day Treatment Mental Health Facilities
The vast majority of mental health facilities fall into this category and are privately owned. These types of mental health facilities offer day programs where a person may visit the facility for treatment. Treatment at these facilities often includes medication management, group therapy, individual therapy and classes that teach skills to be used in dealing with a mental illness. Day treatment facilities, as the name implies, do not have patients stay overnight and so are suitable for people who have already stabilized their mental health condition. A day treatment program may be what a person enters into after leaving an inpatient psychiatric facility.
Separate Inpatient Units of a General Hospital
The second most common type of mental health facility is a separate inpatient unit of a general hospital. Many regions aren't big enough for separate mental health facilities and so combine them with their general healthcare facility. These inpatient units are where mental health emergencies are handled – such as a person who is floridly psychotic. Stays are typically short-term and are used to stabilize a mental health condition.
Residential Mental Health Treatment Facility for Children or Adults
About 8.4% of mental health facilities in the United States are residential facilities for adults and about 7.5% are residential facilities for children's mental illness treatment needs. Residential treatment centers tend to be private mental health facilities. Treatments here vary widely from equine treatment to exercise to therapy to psychotropic medication (Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Treatment). These are typically long-term mental health facilities.
Only about 6.2% of mental health facilities are full psychiatric hospitals and more than half of these are privately owned. These hospitals are just like general healthcare hospitals in that they are staffed by doctors, nurses and other qualified healthcare professionals. Stays at psychiatric hospitals may be short or medium length often depending on a person's ability to pay for mental health services at this type of facility. These types of facilities can handle emergency mental health situations and non-emergent cases as well (What's It Like Inside A Mental Hospital?).
United States Department of Veteran's Affairs
The smallest percentage of mental health facilities belongs to the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). These public institutions are set up to specifically serve the military population. Common conditions treated here include posttraumatic stress disorder (due to combat, military sexual trauma, etc.), suicidal ideation and substance use disorders.
Last Updated: 20 May 2018
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD