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What is outpatient mental health treatment?

August 25, 2021 | Behavioral Health Services


Since the start of the pandemic, psychologists and mental health professionals have reported a large increase in the demand for anxiety and depression treatment, among other behavioral health needs. For many individuals, this year was the first time they’ve sought out mental health care services.

“One outcome of the past year has been an increased awareness of mental health,” said Mark Stoltz, Licensed Clinic Social Worker at Penn Highlands Behavioral Health. “Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the uptick in patients seeking care has important in the midst of so much darkness.”

There are many types of mental health treatment, including outpatient care. In outpatient treatment, patients receive mental health services in an office or clinical setting rather than being admitted to the hospital overnight. For patients who do not need round-the-clock care, outpatient treatment is an excellent option.

Who can benefit from outpatient treatment?

Individuals with a strong support system and high levels of independence are excellent candidates for outpatient treatment. Patients can continue to manage their day-to-day responsibilities, integrate new coping skills into their daily lives and maintain a strong connection with their support system.

How does outpatient mental health treatment work?

In outpatient treatment, patients learn to cope with stressors and manage their mental health. Treatment can range from short-term counseling to long-term treatment plans. While one person may be able to manage their symptoms with an hour or two of mental health treatment per month, another person may need more support and structure. Outpatient services are ideal because they can be tailored to provide each patient with the right treatment plan.

What services are available in an outpatient setting?

There are a wide variety of mental health services available, including:

  • Individual or group counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychiatric medication
  • Dialectical behavior therapy 
  • Chemical dependency treatment
  • Bipolar disorder treatment
  • Anxiety treatment
  • Depression treatment
  • Stress management skills
  • Family therapy

Penn Highlands Healthcare is currently expanding its behavioral health services, including a new building addition with outpatient services in a 24-provider clinic and walk-in services to increase access for patients in immediate need of mental health care.

“Individuals challenged by mental health issues are often underserved,” said Mark Stoltz. “By expanding our behavioral health services, individuals within the communities we serve and beyond will have greater access to much-needed services.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential. Learn more on the Lifeline’s website or the Crisis Text Line’s website.

Penn Highlands Healthcare offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient behavioral and mental health services at locations throughout the region. To learn more, please visit www.phhealthcare.org/bhs.