Outpatient Mental Health Treatment: Flexible Treatment Programs

In 2021, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that about 57.8 million Americans live with a mental illness. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that 1 in 5 American adults and 1 in 5 Americans aged 13 to 18 struggle with their mental health.

The CDC also estimates that 1 in 25 adults in the United States struggle with serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.

Mental illness is a serious concern in the United States, and its treatment is covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and many private insurance plans, though specific coverage can vary. 

Many people who need treatment for conditions such as depression and anxiety can turn to numerous treatment options. Those with serious symptoms may require inpatient care. However, others may be better suited to an outpatient setting.

At Luxe Recovery LA, we provide numerous options for patients to address substance use disorders, process addictions, and mental illnesses.

What is Outpatient Mental Health Treatment?

Outpatient, or ambulatory, mental health treatment is a type of treatment program in which a patient receives care and support from mental health professionals to address a wide range of mental disorders.

Ambulatory treatment differs from inpatient health care services in that a patient does not need to check themselves into a treatment facility and live there for 28 days or more. With ambulatory treatment, patients are able to integrate their treatment into their day-to-day lives, allowing them to have their mental health needs met without inpatient treatment.

What Does Outpatient Treatment Entail?

Outpatient mental health programs typically include regular psychotherapy sessions to help patients deal with their mental health issues and develop coping skills to handle stressful instances.

These can entail individual therapy sessions, wherein a patient can delve deeper into their issues, and group therapy sessions, which foster a sense of accountability and community.

Types of Outpatient Services

There is a wide range of outpatient behavioral health programs available to treat a diverse array of mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Some of the programs that people use to address their concerns include:

Intensive Outpatient Program

An outpatient program will typically include regular therapy sessions. However, these therapy sessions will typically be only once per week. With an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a patient receives treatment. However, they will receive this treatment several times per week.

IOPs allow people to receive intense treatment for a range of mental health concerns while still being able to live their lives and meet their responsibilities.

Partial Hospitalization Program

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) are a type of treatment in which a person goes to a treatment facility to receive treatment. However, unlike residential treatment, they do not stay in the facility. Rather, patients are treated during the day and return to their homes at night.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Another aspect of ambulatory treatment, especially for those who struggle with substance use, is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). A care team manages a person’s medication and adjusts dosages as needed to help manage symptoms and cravings. MAT is often used in conjunction with behavioral therapies.

Who Benefits from Outpatient Mental Health Services?

The people who would benefit from an ambulatory treatment plan are people whose mental health conditions can be classified as mild to moderate. They need support from professional mental health programs, but not to the level of residential care. 

Their mental health disorders, while they can be debilitating, can be managed in an ambulatory setting. This means that they can get the care they need without uprooting their lives to spend a few weeks in a treatment center.

Speaking of a treatment center, another group of people who may greatly benefit from outpatient mental health care is those who have already completed residential treatment. Outpatient mental and behavioral health services can be used as aftercare for people who leave residential treatment. This allows them to continue to receive care and support while they work towards their recovery.

The Benefits of Outpatient Mental Health Care

While ambulatory treatment is inherently less intensive than residential care, there are still numerous benefits to it. Some of these benefits include:


The primary benefit of this form of treatment is that it is flexible. Patients can receive care at their own convenience, allowing them to maintain their day-to-day lives with minimal disruption.


Outpatient treatment is often priced lower than residential care and is often covered by insurance. This reduces out-of-pocket costs for patients.


Many ambulatory programs are also more accessible than residential care, allowing them to give more people care and support for their mental health concerns.

Maintenance and Prevention

Another benefit of ambulatory care is that a patient can be monitored in real-world settings. This can help primary caregivers adjust treatment plans. It can also help anticipate and prevent future complications and maintain a person’s well-being, all of which promote long-term recovery.

Should I Complete Residential Treatment Before Seeking Outpatient Care?

Some people might think that the best way to intervene in their mental health concerns is to check into a residential treatment center. Many of these people will be correct, as residential care offers patients a controlled environment with 24/7 support from a team of professionals. 

Many people also transition into programs such as IOPs or sober living programs as a form of aftercare, as doing so strengthens a patient’s continuity of care.

However, completing residential care is not necessary to begin ambulatory care. For many people, receiving care without a stay in a treatment facility can offer them the support they need to manage their symptoms.

Our Services Are Available to Help With Mental and Behavioral Health

Many people can be hesitant to seek treatment for mental health concerns. For one thing, there’s the social stigma that surrounds mental illness in many communities, which can make it hard for people to acknowledge a mental illness at all.

Another barrier is that when people think of mental health treatment, they think of residential centers and having to put their lives on pause while they seek treatment.

Outpatient care can present an alternative and give people the care and support they need to manage their symptoms. At Luxe Recovery LA, we provide numerous treatment options to help with their struggles. Contact us now, and we can begin helping you with yours or for your loved one.

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