What Is Inpatient Treatment for Mental Health?

Mental health problems are a pressing concern in American society. These problems affect tens of millions of people each year, and often produce serious symptoms.

No one affected by serious mental illness can hope to recover without help. For some people, effective help can be found in outpatient programs. But in many cases, the best possible option is inpatient mental health treatment.

Inpatient treatment represents the highest level of mental health care. This treatment is often provided in a residential, non-hospital setting. It also takes place in psychiatric hospitals.

The right kind of inpatient mental health program can be crucial to your recovery. This holds true no matter what kind of illness affects you.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Mental Health Care

Inpatient care is a live-in model for mental health treatment. While enrolled, all participants reside onsite. Treatment is delivered at various times throughout each day.

In contrast, outpatient care allows you to stay at home during your enrollment. At scheduled times each week, you attend treatment sessions at your facility.

There are several types of outpatient programs. Some provide as little as one hour of weekly treatment. Others provide up to 20 hours or more. 

Most of the mental health programs in the U.S. offer outpatient services. About a third of all programs offer inpatient services.

Some facilities only provide one of these two options. However, many provide both outpatient and inpatient care. 

Types of Mental Health Inpatient Programs

Types of Mental Health Inpatient Programs

There are two main types of inpatient mental health facilities: residential facilities and hospitals

Residential Facilities

Inpatient residential facilities are intended for people who:

  • Have symptoms too serious for outpatient treatment
  • Do not require psychiatric hospitalization

You may enter this kind of program when you first begin treatment for your illness. You may also move to a residential program after a stay in a hospital. In addition, you may move up to a residential program from an outpatient program. 

Residential facilities provide you with round-the-clock help. This help does not just include scheduled treatment. It also includes 24/7 access to any needed medical services.

Psychiatric Hospitals

Inpatient psychiatric hospitals provide help for a range of serious mental health issues. These issues include mental health crises that require immediate attention.

They also include any serious risk to your safety or the safety of other people. Examples of this kind of risk include:

  • Planning or threatening to commit suicide
  • Threatening or planning to harm other people
  • Having uncontrolled symptoms of psychosis

Enrollment in an inpatient psychiatric hospital is typically short-term. When the immediate issues that led to hospitalization are resolved, you can go on to other kinds of treatment.

Who Needs Residential Inpatient Care for Mental Health?

How do mental health professionals determine if you need residential or outpatient care? The main determining factor is the seriousness of your condition.

People with mild-to-moderate mental illness symptoms may only need outpatient care. However, people with moderate-to-severe symptoms often need to recover in residential care.

There are also more detailed criteria for receiving treatment in residential facilities. These criteria include such things as:

  • Not getting better while enrolled in outpatient treatment
  • Lacking the support network needed to succeed in outpatient care
  • Having unclear symptoms that might require further treatment
  • Also being affected by other serious issues like substance problems

Types of Inpatient Treatment

Types of Inpatient Treatment

Medication and psychotherapy are the two mainstays for treatment in mental health facilities. The types of medication and therapy that will work best for you depend on factors such as:

  • The mental illness affecting you
  • The kinds of symptoms affecting you
  • The seriousness of those symptoms
  • Specific details in your medical history or personal background

Your inpatient recovery plan may include both medication and therapy. However, some plans only include one of these two options. 


Several classes of medications are used in inpatient psychiatric care. Common examples include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety medications
  • Antipsychotics


The most widely used psychotherapy option in inpatient programs is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This therapy supports your mental health recovery in several ways, including:

  • Giving you a better understanding of how your illness affects you
  • Helping you see how certain ways of thinking reinforce your illness
  • Showing you how to develop thought habits that support well-being
  • Teaching you practical ways of using these new habits in daily life

CBT is used so often because it helps people recovering from a number of common illnesses. The list of these illnesses includes:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depression and related illnesses
  • Schizophrenic illnesses
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorders

A variety of other therapies are also used in inpatient behavioral health programs. Examples include methods such as:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, or EMDR

Types of Inpatient Mental Health Services

Inpatient facilities do not just provide you with primary treatment. They also provide other services that help you recover.

The exact services available vary from facility to facility. Your particular program may include any of the following:

  • Education on your illness and the ways it affects you
  • Prevention of suicide
  • Dietary counseling
  • Exercise counseling
  • Coordinated case management of your overall care plan

Case management is the single most common inpatient mental health service. 

How Long Is an Inpatient Mental Health Stay?

The length of time spent in inpatient care varies from person to person. Residential programs typically range from 30 to 90 days.

However, some programs may last for longer amounts of time. Inpatient hospitalization lasts for as long as you need it. Some people may only stay for a few days. Others may need extended hospital care. 

Transitioning From Inpatient Care

Transitioning From Inpatient Care

It is important to understand that you may still need treatment after completing inpatient care. This continued treatment is known as aftercare.

Many participants go from an inpatient program to an outpatient program. There are three types of these programs:

PHPs provide the most weekly treatment, followed by IOPs. Standard programs, designed for people with mild symptoms, provide the least amount of treatment.

The right option for you depends on details of your personal situation. Aftercare planning typically begins while you are still in inpatient treatment.

Inpatient and outpatient therapists work together to make the process as seamless as possible.

Does Insurance Cover Inpatient Mental Health Treatment?

Today, most health insurance plans cover at least some of the cost of inpatient mental health treatment. All plans made available through the federal Affordable Care Act must include this kind of care.

That is true even if you are diagnosed before getting coverage. In addition, other kinds of private plans often cover mental health treatment. Ask your chosen facility about the kinds of insurance they accept.

Traveling for Inpatient Mental Health Care

In a best-case scenario, you will find suitable mental health facilities near you. Many people enjoy this kind of ready access.

However, circumstances may require you to travel for treatment. Every state in the U.S. has high-quality facilities within its borders. This means that you will likely not have to travel too far.

The Best Inpatient Mental Health Facilities Near You

The best inpatient mental health near you will meet your specific recovery needs. These needs include:

  • Proven options for treating your specific illness
  • Vital secondary treatment services
  • Customized care plans that treat you as an individual

The criteria for high-quality care do not only apply to residential treatment. They also apply to psychiatric hospitalization. Convenience and affordability are also important factors to consider. 

Inpatient Mental Health Facilities in Arizona

Inpatient mental health care is an essential recovery option for many people. This level of care provides you with more treatment than an outpatient program can offer.

Some inpatient mental health programs are residential. In contrast, other programs specialize in hospitalization. In the U.S., roughly equal numbers of both types of programs are available. 

The right inpatient facility fits your current situation. You may only need help from residential care or hospitalization. However, many people benefit from both options on their way to recovery.

Many quality facilities exist in the State of Arizona. They are found most often in urbanized areas. If you live in one of these areas, chances are high you can find residential mental health facilities near you. You will also likely find suitable inpatient psychiatric hospitals. 

In the greater Phoenix area, one of the top choices for effective residential treatment is Emerald Isle. We feature not one, but two local facilities.

One is located in Sun City. You can also seek treatment in Surprise. In each of these facilities, we offer a range of options for inpatient mental health treatment. 

Regardless of the condition affecting you, Emerald Isle can assess your health and provide a detailed evaluation. We follow up these procedures with customized inpatient care geared toward your illness and your overall needs.

This holistic approach helps you get the most out of your time in treatment. For more information on our many services, contact us today.