Choosing the Right Mental Health Treatment Program

Choosing a mental health treatment program for a loved one with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or psychosis can be an overwhelming task. As you look for a facility that will provide quality care and meet your friend or family member’s specific needs, there are many things to consider. Unfortunately, many admissions to mental health treatment programs arise from an urgent need for intervention, and there isn’t much time for a thorough investigation of your options. 

people at a mental health treatment program 

So, where do you begin mental health treatment?

If your loved one is struggling to cope with the debilitating symptoms of mental illness and is in need of treatment, here are some tips for finding the right program as efficiently as possible.

Ask for recommendations

If your loved one is currently hospitalized, ask his or her treating physician for a recommendation. “Where would you refer a family member with a similar condition?” is a good question to ask. Public health commissions, mental health associations, and government agencies can also help guide the families of individuals suffering from mental illness.

Research prospective mental health programs

Once you have narrowed your options to a handful of programs, you can begin your research. There are several important criteria to consider, including:

  • Professional credentials. Research the credentials of the medical staff and read their bios online. The facility you choose should have licensed psychiatrists and psychologists on site who have experience treating your loved one’s specific condition.
  • Accredited facility. Narrow your options to mental health treatment programs that are accredited by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission's Behavioral Health Care Accreditation program holds healthcare facilities to rigorous patient safety and care standards.
  • Services offered. A good mental health treatment program will offer a variety of services to build a comprehensive plan of care for each patient, which may include individual therapy, group therapy, structured activities, vocational skills, and medication management. 
  • Varying levels of care. Look for a facility with inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs. Upon intake, the organization’s mental health professionals should assess your loved one to determine the most appropriate level of care. 

Visit the facilities

Your online research should limit your options to one or two mental health treatment programs. The next step is to visit the facilities in person to meet with the providers and medical professionals who will be caring for your loved one. Be prepared to ask questions and take notes. The following are a good place to start:

  • Does your program specialize in treating individuals with my loved one’s specific condition?

  • What treatment, services, and care do you offer and how are they individualized to meet my loved one’s needs?

  • What opportunities will I be involved in my loved one’s treatment and recovery?

  • Does the program offer medication as part of treatment, if necessary?

  • What will my expenses be? Do you accept insurance?

  • What are your visiting hours and policies?

  • What types of amenities and activities do you offer?

You should also make observations about the staff and facility. Take note of whether the staff is friendly, and if the patients are treated with kindness and warmth. Are the facilities clean? Is the staff involved in day-to-day activities? If possible, visit the treatment centers unannounced to get a true feel for what it’s like to be enrolled in the program. 

Your search for a mental health treatment program ends here

At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we believe that recovery from mental illness is possible – especially when treatment is started early and the patient plays an active role in his or her path to wellness. Our mission is to help individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and psychosis overcome the symptoms of their condition and achieve stability for a happy, healthy life. Schedule a personal tour or drop by our accredited facility today to see how Alvarado Parkway Institute can help your loved one return to his or her personal best. Give us a call at (619) 667-6125 to learn more.