What to Expect When Seeking Behavioral Health Care Services

  • Behavioral health care can help people address unhealthy behaviors that impact overall wellness.

  • Behavioral health is delivered in many different settings, and the structure of the services varies according to the environment.

What Is Behavioral Health Care?

Behavioral health care is a term often used interchangeably with mental health services. However, as the field expands, the concept of behavioral health care has grown to encompass the idea that our behaviors affect our overall health, and specific interventions can work to disrupt unhealthy behaviors. Behavioral health care doesn’t necessarily involve a specific diagnosis but focuses instead on how to change or stop harmful behaviors. For example, providers working in behavioral health care might help clients stop gambling, overeating, or abusing alcohol.

What Should I Expect When I Seek Out Behavioral Health Care?

When you seek behavioral health care for yourself or for someone you love, you may be overwhelmed and unsure what to expect. The experience will vary depending on the setting in which you receive help and the nature of the mental health disorders.

  • Emergency care: If the patient is suicidal, psychotic, delusional, or experiencing a break from reality, call 911 or get the patient to the nearest emergency room for stabilization. Once the crisis has passed, an ongoing treatment plan for managing behavioral health and mental health can be developed. Still, it’s critical to preserve the patient’s safety and the safety of those around them until then.

  • Inpatient: Acute mental health conditions may require a stay in a psychiatric hospital or the behavioral health unit of a regular hospital.

  • Outpatient care: Group and individual therapy, patient education, and community programming are all forms of outpatient care. The term is a broad one that refers to any service provided outside the hospital. Sometimes you see the term ambulatory care used instead. Outpatient care allows the patient to continue working or going to school and participating in other daily living activities.

  • Partial hospitalization: People participating in a partial hospitalization program spend six or more hours per day receiving behavioral health care but do not reside in the hospital. This plan is one of the options used to gradually return patients to the community after staying in the hospital.

  • Residential treatment: At a residential facility, patients live onsite and receive treatment there. Staying in residential behavioral health facilities usually lasts several weeks and focuses on a specific issue such as substance abuse.

  • Integrated services: Providers who provide integrated care take a holistic view and work to address the overall health and well being of the patient. Integrated care is critical when working with people who have co-occurring disorders, meaning that the person has multiple diagnoses.

No matter where you receive behavioral health care, the treatment team usually begins with a comprehensive assessment. The person’s medical, social, and mental health history will be reviewed, as well as any current medications, symptoms, and behaviors.

Where Can I Learn More About Behavioral Health Care?

St. Anthony’s Behavioral Health Hospital provides specialized care for patients aged 50 or older who struggle with significant mental health changes, including dementia and cognitive decline. Our mission is to give compassionate care that preserves the patient’s self-confidence and dignity. At St. Anthony’s, our team of behavioral health doctors and specially trained nurses involve the patient’s family in the plan of care at every step. If you or someone you love is dealing with a mental illness and could benefit from the services at St. Anthony’s, contact us today for an assessment.