Inpatient Mental Health Treatment: 12 Things To Expect

Mental illness affects millions of Americans every year. Mental Health First Aid reports that 46%, or almost half of the adult American population, will experience mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, at least once in their lifetime. (1)(2)

Group Therapy

Group Therapy

There’s a high cost of treating mental health conditions. A recent report states that the average annual cost for mental health treatment reached $225 billion, including costs associated with medication, doctor visits, hospitalization, and other treatments. (3)

Given these mental health statistics, it’s essential to understand how to deal with mental health issues. This article provides a discussion that includes understanding what treatment options are available, how they work, and what to expect when seeking treatment.

What Is Inpatient Mental Health Treatment?

Inpatient mental health treatment is a type of psychiatric care where patients receive treatment from a team of professionals who work together to treat them. To learn more about psychiatric care, read more here.

It’s usually used when a person needs immediate medical attention due to severe symptoms or when they need to recover from a serious condition. Patients may also require inpatient treatment if they can’t take care of themselves.

Inpatient mental health treatment is often required when someone has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or another mental illness. Some common reasons why people seek inpatient treatment include:

  • They’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Their behavior is causing harm to themselves or others
  • They’re having difficulty managing their medications
  • They’re unable to function normally in society
  • They’re unable to live independently

A person’s first step toward getting better is admitting that there is a problem. If you feel like you need inpatient mental health treatment, talk to your doctor about how you can get started. You should also consider talking to family members, friends, clergy, or other trusted individuals who might be willing to support you.

Read Also: Mental Health: 8 Tips To Encourage A Loved One To Get Counseling

What Are The Benefits?

There are many benefits to receiving inpatient mental health treatment. For instance, you can focus solely on recovering from your illness without worrying about taking care of yourself. Additionally, you can access specialized resources and therapies to help you overcome your issues.

You’ll also be able to meet with doctors and therapists regularly so they can monitor your progress. It allows them to ensure you’re doing well and following all of the necessary steps to recovery.

You can also participate in group therapy sessions to share your experiences with others dealing with similar problems. These groups allow you to learn from each other’s stories and gain insight into how to deal with similar situations in the future.

Finally, you’ll be able to see improvements in your overall health. When you feel good physically, you can think more clearly and perform tasks more efficiently.

How Do I Get Started?

To start getting inpatient mental health treatment, you must first contact your local mental health provider. Your provider will then determine whether you qualify for inpatient treatment based on your diagnosis and current state of mind.

Once you have received approval, your next step is to find an appropriate facility. There are several different types of facilities available, including:

  • Private hospitals
  • Psychiatric units within general hospitals
  • Residential programs
  • Community clinics

When choosing a facility, ask questions about what kind of treatment they offer. Is it intensive or short-term? What kind of staff do they employ? How long does the program last?

After you have chosen a facility, you’ll need to complete paperwork and sign contracts. Once you have done these things, you’ll be ready to begin your treatment.

The Best Way To Find A Facility

Finding a facility that offers inpatient mental health treatment can be difficult. It’s essential to choose one that meets your needs.

The best way to find a facility is to speak with your primary care physician. They’ll be able to recommend a few options for you.

Additionally, you may also consider looking at online reviews. Many patients use online sites to review various facilities.

Finally, if you don’t know anyone who has been through inpatient mental health treatment, you can always call your local hospital or clinic. They can tell you which providers specialize in treating people with certain illnesses.

What To Expect?

Admitting to a facility for inpatient mental health treatment is not easy. But here’s a list of some of the most common things you should expect when going through the admission process.

Before Admission

Here are things to expect before your admission:

  1. Be Ready For An Initial Evaluation

Your doctor will likely ask you several questions regarding your condition. Some of these questions include:

  • Have you ever had any previous psychiatric treatments?
  • Are you currently seeing a therapist? If so, why did you stop?
  • Did you experience any side effects while taking medication?

Your doctor will also require documentation of your diagnosis, including medical records, lab reports, and other information proving your illness.

An intake form is used to gather information about your history and symptoms. It helps your doctor make sure they understand your situation.

A physical exam and blood test will also be performed to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo treatment. During the initial evaluation, your doctor will assess how well you respond to medications. This assessment determines whether you’ll receive medication during your stay.

Read Also: Mental Health: 8 Effective Strategies To Break The Addiction Cycle

  1. Meet With Staff Members

If preferred, some patients request to meet with members of the nursing staff, doctors, therapists, and social workers. These individuals will discuss your case and determine the type of treatment you’ll receive.

  1. Sign Contracts

Finally, contracts must be signed prior to beginning treatment. You’ll also need to sign an agreement stating that you understand your expectations during your stay.

During Your Stay

You’ll be assigned a room upon arriving at the mental health facility. Each patient receives their own private space. Here are some of the things you should expect during your stay.

  1. Receive Care From Your Providers

Each day, you’ll see one or more of your providers. Depending on your needs, they may include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and others.

Another part of your care involves taking prescribed medications and participating in therapy sessions. You shall take your medications as directed by your provider. In addition, therapy sessions can be helpful for many reasons. During therapy, you’ll learn coping skills and ways to deal with stress.

  1. Learn About Your Condition & Gain New Skills

As part of your inpatient treatment plan, you’ll learn about your illness and its causes, symptoms, and possible complications.

You’ll gain new skills as part of your recovery. These include dealing with your symptoms, managing emotions, improving self-esteem, and developing positive relationships.

  1. Maintain Healthy Lifestyle Habits

During your stay, maintaining healthy lifestyle habits is essential for staying healthy and sound. It means eating right, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.

Making friends can also help you feel better. Whether it’s your healthcare providers, or some other patients inside the facility, talking to someone when you need support can really be helpful and is another skill you’re expected to develop during your stay.

There will also be activities to help you relax and relieve stress. These activities can help you get out of bed each morning.

  1. Finish Your Treatment & Feel Better

After completing treatment, you’re expected to have gained insight into your condition, learned new skills, and finally feel better and ready to go back to your life outside and rejoin the community.

After Your Stay

After leaving the facility and returning home, you’ll continue to receive outpatient mental health treatment. Expect the following as part of your aftercare treatment:

  1. Continue Taking Medications

You’ll continue to take your medications as prescribed. If you do not, you could experience side effects.

  1. Return To Normal Life

Once you finish your treatment, you’ll return to everyday life. You’ll still face challenges, but with the skills and learnings you acquired from your stay, you’ll know how to cope with these difficulties.

  1. Prevent Future Problems & Recognize Symptoms

Once your treatment is complete, you’ll no longer require psychiatric services. However, if there are any noticeable changes in your behavior, it’s best to contact your doctor immediately.

Your next challenge might be different than the last. That’s why it’s important to mentally and emotionally prepare for whatever comes next.

If you start experiencing symptoms again, call your doctor. They can prescribe medication to treat the problem.

  1. Avoid Relapse

If you think you might relapse, contact your doctor before returning to work. They can recommend steps that you can take to avoid another hospitalization.

Stress may lead to problems like anxiety and depression. Managing stress can help prevent future episodes. It’ll also help to keep track of your progress by writing down what you did each day.

As part of your aftercare and with your experience during your stay, you’re expected to find a support system or someone who knows you well to whom you can always talk. This person can help you understand how to handle stressful situations.

  1. Take Care Of Yourself

Lastly, you must take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Try new habits, exercise regularly, eat healthy food, and get proper sleep. This way, you can stay well.

And remember every day that recovery is an ongoing process. Recovery takes time, so don’t expect to feel 100 percent all at once.

Read Also: Mental Health: 6 Tips To Help Alleviate Stress And Anxiety Fast

Final Thoughts

The most important thing you can do to recover from a mental illness is to seek professional help. By doing so, you can find someone who’ll help you deal with your illness, learn more about your mental health condition and find ways to manage it.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with mental illness, please contact your local community mental health center today.

It’s okay to ask and share your concerns. Always remember that there’s hope, and you’re not alone in this struggle.


  1. “Mental Health By the Numbers,” Source:
  2. “5 Surprising Mental Health Statistics,” Source:
  3. “What you need to know about the cost and accessibility of mental health care in America,” Source:



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