When you are seeking mental health services, it is important to understand the features and benefits of the various levels of care that are available to you. The more you learn about the similarities and differences between inpatient vs. outpatient mental health programming, the better prepared you will be to make the best choice.
Difference Between Inpatient vs Outpatient Mental Health Treatment
To begin, let’s take a look at some key differences between inpatient vs. outpatient mental health treatment:
- Patient profile: Inpatient mental health treatment is typically reserved for patients who are experiencing significant distress due to acute symptoms. The goal of inpatient care is to help people achieve stabilization. This is so they can step down to a lower level of care or return home. Outpatient programs serve individuals who don’t require round-the-clock care and who can function independently when treatment is not in session.
- Residential requirement: At the inpatient level, patients live at the facility where they are receiving care. Their daily schedule includes nutritious meals and other relevant services. People who are receiving care through outpatient programs need to be at the center only when treatment is in session. During non-treatment hours, they can return to their homes or to supported alternative residences.
- Scope of services: Inpatient care may incorporate a greater number of therapies and related activities, since the individual is at the center 24 hours a day. In outpatient programs, group therapy is often the main means of treatment, with other services available when appropriate. There are multiple levels of outpatient care (including partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and traditional outpatient services), so the therapeutic component can vary from one outpatient level to the next.
- Length of stay: Inpatient treatment is usually a short-term service. It has an average length of stay that often ranges from five to 14 days. Depending on which outpatient program a person is in, they may remain in treatment for several weeks or months.
Similarities Between Inpatient vs Outpatient Mental Health
Now that we have addressed some key differences between inpatient vs. outpatient mental health programs, let’s take a moment to discuss some important common elements. Whether you receive care at the inpatient level or through one of several outpatient programs, you can expect to benefit from the following features:
- Personalized service: At Montare Behavioral Health, we understand that every person who develops a mental health disorder is affected in a unique manner. To best prepare each of our patients to make long-term progress, we are committed to providing them with a truly personalized experience at the inpatient and outpatient levels. We fully assess each person’s needs, then identify the elements of care that will enable them to achieve improved health.
- Dedicated professionals: Our treatment teams contribute a wealth of experience and expertise to our inpatient and outpatient programs. In addition to their considerable clinical skills, they also possess an unwavering commitment to compassionate, patient-focused service. Throughout your time with us, your treatment team will empower you to play an active role in your care. They will encourage you to ask questions, express your thoughts, and otherwise take ownership of your recovery.
- Safe and respectful environment: At Montare Behavioral Health, nothing is more important to us than our patient’s physical and emotional safety. Untreated mental illnesses can undermine a person’s confidence, self-esteem, and personal autonomy. When a patient is in our care, they can explore difficult emotions and discuss challenging moments from their past without fear that they will be defined by their disorder or judged negatively due to their previous actions or decisions.
- Aftercare planning: No matter how long a person remains in treatment, this experience will represent just one part of their journey toward improved health. Reputable inpatient and outpatient mental health providers such as Montare Behavioral Health develop discharge plans or other aftercare strategies to ensure that patients are connected with the community-based resources that will support their ongoing efforts.
How to Decide Between Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment
When you are trying to decide between inpatient vs. outpatient mental health treatment, the following questions may be beneficial:.
- Do you need round-the-clock support?
- Have you been experiencing severe symptoms that have significantly undermined your ability to function?
- Have you developed particularly complex mental health needs?
If you answered yes to the three questions listed above, you may be an ideal candidate for an inpatient program.
If you answer yes to the following questions, outpatient treatment may be the more appropriate choice:
- Are you seeking step-down support after completing residential care?
- Do you have access to reliable transportation?
- Do you have stable and supportive living arrangements?
- Are you capable of functioning safely and independently during non-treatment hours?
Please note that these general questions are for informational guidance only. To decide between inpatient vs. outpatient mental health programming, you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider.
Contact Us to Begin Either Inpatient or Outpatient Mental Health Treatment
Montare Behavioral Health is a premier provider of customized inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment for adults. Our center in southern California serves men and women ages 18 and older. We treat those whose lives have been disrupted by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and other mental health concerns. If you or someone that you care about can benefit from personalized service in a safe and supportive environment, Montare Behavioral Health may have the solutions you have been seeking. Visit our Admissions page or contact us directly to learn more.