What is Outpatient Mental Health Treatment?

Mental health conditions affect many individuals in the United States. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. For individuals who do not need intensive care and can maintain stability during mental health rehabilitation, outpatient mental health treatment is an excellent option. With an array of options ranging from traditional therapy to intensive outpatient services, outpatient programs offer a variety of choices to patients who wish to recover from a mental health condition.

During outpatient treatment, patients are able to benefit from psychotherapy, traditional psychiatric services, medication management, and medical care on a scheduled basis. When comparing different forms of mental health treatment, outpatient treatment provides patients with the most flexibility and time to complete daily responsibilities.

To explain further, outpatient mental health treatment requires patients to be responsible and accountable for their recovery. As a result, individuals attending these programs must be able to function without a rigid structure and authority. Therefore, outpatient mental health programs are best suited for individuals who are highly motivated and determined to recover. Additionally, outpatient programs are best suited for individuals who require the ability to continue attending work or school as well as having additional responsibilities to attend to such as parenting. If you or a loved one are interested in attending an outpatient mental health treatment program, continue reading to learn more.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment programs do not require patients to reside at the facility. In other words, individuals attending this form of treatment stay at home and in their communities while they recover from their mental health condition. Some programs have a set schedule that requires patients to appear in groups with other people at times that cannot be varied. On the other hand, some outpatient mental health programs rely on an appointment system that accommodates issues such as attending work or caring for children.

One of the main benefits of outpatient therapy is convenience. For individuals who can not move out of their homes or abandon responsibilities to recover from their mental health condition, outpatient programs are the best option. To explain, outpatient clients receive extensive mental health assistance without dealing with the stigma and hassle that inpatient treatment may provide.

Also, outpatient care is typically less costly than other forms of psychiatric treatment. This is because outpatient treatment centers do not include fees for room and board. When individuals attend outpatient therapy they only have to worry about the cost of various therapies, medical care, and medications. In other words, outpatient mental health treatment programs are most beneficial for individuals with fewer finances to work with. If you or a loved one require a low-cost psychiatric care program, outpatient counseling is the best option.

Who Should Attend an Outpatient Mental Health Treatment Center?

Outpatient mental health treatment programs are considered a less intensive form of psychiatric treatment. During outpatient treatment, there are not around-the-clock supervision services or emergency clinicians available if a crisis occurs in the middle of the night. As a result, they are best suited for individuals who have:

  • Completed inpatient mental health treatment and need additional care
  • Less severe or new mental health conditions that do not require hospitalization
  • Friends or loved ones who can assist in the case of a crisis
  • Otherwise good health aside from any mental conditions

Individuals who meet these criteria do require mental health treatment, however, they do not need around-the-clock care and supervision. Outpatient mental health therapy best suited for individuals who are able to stay motivated on their own. This type of mental health therapy can treat a wide variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:

Types of Outpatient Mental Health Treatment

Outpatient mental health treatment is the most affordable and independent options in regards to psychiatric care. However, even with the broad term of outpatient treatment, there are different levels of intensity.

Day Programs

Day programs are the most intensive form of outpatient care. To explain, day programs require individuals to attend treatment for 5-7 days a week for at least 6 hours a day. Patients are granted access to individual, group, and family therapists as well as treatment for additional medical conditions. While most individuals begin treatment in an inpatient program, day programs are a starting point for many individual’s recoveries.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient programs have more flexibility than day programs. These programs are ideal for patients who require intensive treatment but have responsibilities such as work, school, or family roles that they must complete. While these programs provide the same treatment modalities as day programs, individuals only attend treatment for 3-4 days a week during the day or evening hours.


Also known as continuing care, aftercare consists of counseling groups and mutual support groups that provide connectedness, accountability, and ongoing support for individuals who have transitioned out of an outpatient mental health treatment program. Aftercare groups are facilitated by a licensed therapist and are typically offered once a week.

Outpatient Mental Health Treatment at Voices of Mental Health

At Voices of Mental Health, we can connect you with comprehensive therapeutic services and programs designed specifically to meet each individual’s needs. If you or a loved one require mental health treatment, look no further. Our professional and experienced staff pride themselves on providing the best possible combination of support, care, and education to help each patient to make a full recovery. Contact Voices of Mental Health today to learn more about which type of mental health treatment is right for you.

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