Long-Term Support for Mental Health Recovery

Treatment for mental illness is crucial to restoring your sense of health and wellness. In an ideal world, primary treatment would be all you need to achieve this goal. However, in reality, you will likely still be affected by some of your symptoms when primary treatment ends. In addition, you will probably need help to maintain your treatment gains long-term. This help is available in the form of mental health aftercare.

Mental health aftercare provides you with important ongoing support for your continued recovery. In this way, it can play an essential role in helping you avoid any major symptom relapses. Aftercare comes in a variety of forms and can be suited to meet your specific needs.

What Is an Aftercare Program

Aftercare is also known as continuing care. It takes place after you complete hospitalization or residential treatment for a mental health issue. Aftercare programs have several major goals, including:

  • Helping you keep the mental health gains you made in earlier treatment
  • Stopping you from relapsing back into a dysfunctional state

Giving you support as you adjust to the ups and downs of everyday life

Free Mental Health Assessment

The Importance of Aftercare In Treatment

Why is aftercare necessary? In the majority of cases, mental illness is not strictly curable. Instead, the goal of treatment is to minimize the impact of your illness and improve your ability to function. You may have at least some symptoms for the rest of your life. That is true even if your primary treatment is fully successful.

In daily life, it can be difficult to maintain the progress you made in treatment. Over time, you may find that some of your remaining symptoms have grown more intense. You may also find that you are re-experiencing some symptoms that had completely faded away. This is a precarious situation. Unless you get help turning things around, you can lapse back into serious problems. An effective mental health aftercare program provides this help.

This is especially important for people affected by severe mental illness. Unfortunately, people who fall into this category often do not keep their treatment regimens going. As a result, they run a high risk of relapsing and again requiring hospitalization.

Aftercare and the Continuum of Care

Aftercare is part of the continuum of care for mental health issues. This is a model designed to account for all aspects of a person’s mental health prevention and recovery needs. It helps ensure that you have adequate resources available to:

  • Prevent mental illness
  • Treat existing mental illness
  • Continue to stay mentally well after treatment ends

Forms of Aftercare Offerings

What kinds of options are available for mental health aftercare? The specific options may depend on your situation. Potential choices available to you include:

  • Scheduled outpatient visits to your program’s facilities
  • Home visits from a trained professional
  • Telephonic check-ins
  • Social skills training

You and your family may also benefit from something called psychoeducation. This is the term for a program designed to increase your understanding of your illness. Multiple aftercare offerings are sometimes used together. For example, some programs used a combination of telephone check-ins and outpatient visits.

Your level of compliance with your treatment can affect your aftercare choices. For example, if you do not regularly take your prescribed medication, home visits may be necessary. In contrast, if you do keep up your medication regimen, outpatient visits may be a better option.

Mental health aftercare

Advantages of Aftercare for Clients

What are the real-world advantages of aftercare? The answers to this question depend, in part, on the kind of aftercare you receive. For example, home visits have been shown to:

  • Reduce your chances of relapsing
  • Help lower the intensity of your existing symptoms

If you receive regular telephonic check-ins, you have increased odds of sticking to your outpatient treatment schedule. Social skills training has been shown to:

  • Improve your social skills
  • Reduce the number of relapse events you experience
  • Contribute to lower symptom severity

The evidence for psychoeducation is more mixed. Education of this type can help make it easier for you and your family to communicate with each other. However, this may or may not lead to improvements in your aftercare results.

Mental Health Aftercare for Substance Problems

In popular culture, mental illness and substance problems are often viewed as separate issues. But in reality, this is not the case. All forms of addiction and serious substance abuse are classified by experts as mental health conditions. The umbrella term for these conditions is substance use disorder, or SUD.

Aftercare for SUDs is just as important as it is for other mental health issues. With help, you can maintain the same commitment to sobriety you had at the end of your main treatment. Research shows that long-term aftercare may provide you with better outcomes than short-term help.

Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Aftercare

Substance problems and other mental health issues frequently overlap. The common term for the resulting combined condition is dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is tougher to deal with in primary treatment than substance problems alone. The same holds true in regard to other separate forms of mental illness. This challenge does not diminish in aftercare. In fact, if you have a dual diagnosis, you have an even more urgent reason to follow a solid aftercare plan.

Immediate Placement for Mental Health Treatment

Mental Health Aftercare Planning

It is important to have an aftercare plan in place before you complete your primary treatment. That way, you can transition smoothly to your post-treatment program and avoid any gaps in your mental health resources. High-quality mental health programs are aware of the need for advanced mental health aftercare planning. Long before your treatment ends, these programs will help you start the planning process.

Steps to Take After Psychiatric Admission

When you first enter treatment, you or a loved one should ask about available aftercare options. Also, ask when active planning for aftercare will begin. Taking this approach will help you stay locked in on the long-term goals of sustained recovery.

Typical Costs of Mental Health Aftercare

The costs of mental health aftercare can vary from case to case. That is true, in part, because the cost may depend on the specific aftercare options you receive. This makes it hard to accurately estimate an expected or typical dollar amount. However, some rough estimates are available. For example, a 2017 study concluded that the average cost for people with severe illness is about $3,800 a year.

Regardless of the specific amount you pay, one thing is certain. Effective aftercare is typically much more cost-effective than re-enrollment in primary treatment. In addition, finding proper aftercare can be much easier than finding suitable inpatient services. That is especially true if you require hospitalization following a symptom relapse.

24 Hour Mental Health Hotline

Creating Firm Foundations for Mental Health

A firm foundation for mental health is important for everyone. The creation of this foundation involves more than just seeking treatment when needed. It also requires that you take steps to maintain your health when treatment concludes.

Given the pressures of everyday life, this can seem like a daunting task. This is why an effective aftercare program is so important. It not only allows you to re-establish a solid foundation for day-to-day function. It also helps you keep that foundation intact even when life puts you in difficult situations.

Improving Chances at Lasting Recovery With Help From Emerald Isle

Effective primary treatment is available for all forms of mental illness. However, the typical goal of treatment is not the complete elimination of your symptoms. This is true because most mental illnesses do not have a complete cure. Instead, treatment programs aim to reduce your symptom load as much as possible.

This means that, even in the best of circumstances, you will probably have continuing symptoms when treatment ends. There is also a strong possibility that you will need to take some sort of medication for those symptoms. These facts help underscore the vital need for effective mental health aftercare.

Aftercare comes in a variety of forms. Common options include telephonic check-ins, scheduled outpatient visits, and home visits. Depending on your situation, you may benefit from more than one of these options.

People who receive aftercare for mental health issues have an improved ability to avoid a symptom relapse. They also typically experience a decrease in the severity of their existing symptoms. These benefits are supported by a wide range of studies. Aftercare is also cost-effective when compared to a return to inpatient treatment.

Want more information on aftercare for mental health? Emerald Isle Health & Recovery can help. We understand the vital need to integrate aftercare into your recovery plan. No matter your situation, we can offer advice on how to achieve this critical goal.

Emerald Isle is also your source for high-quality mental health care. We feature assessment services that help determine if you are affected by mental illness. And if you require treatment, we support your needs with suitable options for both inpatient and outpatient care. In addition, our staff of specialists will help you follow an aftercare plan that supports your ongoing wellness efforts. Call today to learn more about our available services.