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What Types of Mental Health Services and Facilities Are Available?

Apr 30, 2018

Research has shown that mental health can affect the physical body and trigger disease. Not only is a good mental attitude necessary for health and well-being, but it is also essential for learning, communicating, thinking, making decisions, and developing self-esteem. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in six Americans suffers from a mental illness that limits self-fulfillment and productivity. A mental illness is defined as an emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder and can range from mild to moderate or severe. When a mental illness severely limits or interferes with one or more than one major activity in daily life, it is considered serious. In the United States, there are more than 3,000 mental health clinics and facilities where social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses provide a wide range of services. In the United States, people can also find information by visiting the Department of Mental Health or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

Three Places to Get Help

1. Emergency Rooms and Hospitals

When immediate treatment is crucial, emergency rooms are able to offer psychiatric services, and some are also specially equipped for mental health care. This kind of care is usually reserved for urgent care or severe episodes, such suicide or psychosis. For patients who need to be admitted or for those who have additional health problems, a hospital stay of one or more nights may be necessary. Some hospitals, however, treat only mental illnesses or substance abuse. Hospitals may also have day programs that are appropriate for patients who can safely leave at night and return the next day.

2. Residential Centers and Outpatient Mental Health Services

Residential behavioral and mental health centers provide live-in care for extended periods of time, often for a month or longer. Centers may be specifically devoted to substance abuse or mental illness, or a combination of both. Nursing homes fall into this category if they have psychiatric facilities. Residential services provide safety and access to psychiatric evaluations. For patients who do not require live-in services, outpatient services allow them to attend daily treatments while returning home at night. Outpatient services are good for people who need help managing medication or group therapy.

3. Private Practice and Remote Counseling

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed counselor social workers provide private care at their offices or clinics. Care may include individual, group, or family therapy and medication management, based on the kind of professional. Many, but not all private practitioners accept insurance. Private care is good for patients who need support and have the resources to attend and pay for private sessions. For those who live in rural areas or have trouble accessing private care, help may be available by phone, email, online chat, or video conferencing. People who are unable to leave their homes or those who need follow-up between sessions may also benefit from remote counseling.

Five Things to Know about Mental Health Services

1. People who need mental health care, or those who know someone else who does, often procrastinate because they do not know what to do first. Information is available at the following places:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1 800 273 TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
  • SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1 877 SAMHSA7 (1 877 726 4727)

2. Medicaid programs in all states offer limited mental health services, and some offer substance abuse treatment to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are entitled to a full range of services.

3. Warning signs of mental illness in children may include one or more of the following: frequent temper tantrums, aggression, hyperactivity, academic problems, severe anxiety or worry.

4. Warning signs of mental illness in adolescents may include one or more of the following: anger problems, changes in sleeping or eating habits, inability to deal with daily activities and problems, physical ailments or complaints, vandalism, truancy, theft, fear of gaining weight, thoughts of death, and prolonged negativity.

5. The leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds is suicide, and over nine million adults in the United States seriously think of suicide each year. The National Suicide Lifeline has the following motto: "Ask. Keep them safe. Be there. Help them connect. Follow up."

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