The United States is no stranger to mental health, as nearly one in five Americans struggle with one or more mental health disorders. In fact, 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder, with millions more following behind and struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses that impact their everyday lives.
Mental healthcare, while still highly stigmatized, has become one of the most important talking points today, as more people than ever before are asking for help to cope with their symptoms. Depending on the severity of a person’s mental illness, they can obtain treatment that is designed to meet the most critical of needs or treatment that is better suited for less severe cases. One type of mental healthcare that is gaining more popularity among those with more complex mental illnesses is transitional living for mental health.
What is Transitional Living for Mental Health?
Many people who have spent time in residential care for their mental illnesses can easily transition out of their treatment program and back into their everyday lives. However, there are just as many people in this same situation who can benefit from a slower transition out of residential care back to their home lives. This is when transitional living options come in most handy.
Transitional living for mental health offers those individuals who have already been receiving mental health care the option of moving to a more independent living situation prior to moving home. Transitional living allows individuals to live with one or more people who are also recovering from a mental illness and who share similar treatment goals as one another. Transitional living for mental health is most comparable to sober living, where individuals who are in recovery from substance use disorders live with one another outside of the treatment facility but who continue to receive more detailed treatment than what can be provided at home. Those enrolled in transitional living will not be left to their own devices, rather they will follow a schedule developed by their treatment program. Depending on the person and the program, this schedule may include group activities, therapy sessions, support group meetings, and assistance with personal responsibilities outside of transitional living. The goal of this living option is to give individuals the opportunity to carefully move from a highly-structured and regularly monitored program back into the comfort of their home lives.
Candidates for Transitional Living for Mental Health
Transitional living for mental health is a highly beneficial service for many people. While it is not the appropriate option for everyone, it can be highly effective for those who:
- Have a severe mental illness that requires lengthier care
- Have more than one mental illness they are attempting to recover from at the same time
- Do not have stable housing outside of the treatment facility that will offer continuous support of their recovery
- Are unable to fully care for themselves just yet
- Still have further professional treatment to obtain but do not need to stay in a residential program in order to access it
Transitional living for mental health is an excellent option for those who fit any of this criteria, as it allows for continuity of care and ease.
Benefits of Transitional Living for Mental Health
Stronger foundation in recovery
Studies show that the longer that a person remains in treatment, the more likely they are to achieve success in their recovery. This applies to those who include transitional living for mental health into their treatment plan, as it allows them the chance to continue thriving in a therapeutic, supportive setting.
Professional case management
Case management is a critical component of any type of recovery, including recovery from a mental health condition. In transitional living for mental health, patients continue to receive comprehensive services that improve their recovery odds. For example, a case manager may set up local support group meetings for a patient to attend each week or refer them to a specialist who offers a certain type of therapy.
Even though a patient has gone through a great deal of treatment by the time they reach transitional living, they may still experience problems from time to time. It is no secret that mental illness, no matter how under control, can be unpredictable. In the event that a patient suffers a mental disturbance or crisis, there are professionals available to address the situation immediately. These professionals can provide treatment on-site and also transport patients to the hospital or other facility should their needs require further care.
Presence of a “safety net”
Sometimes, simply knowing that there is a proverbial safety net available can help people get from point A to point B without hesitation. Transitional living for mental health offers that sense of a safety net to patients, giving them the confidence to try new things and make mistakes without experiencing consequences that could derail their progress. Not only does this provide patients with confidence, but it also helps to build self-esteem, communication skills, coping skills, and hope for the future.
The vast majority of patients in transitional living for mental health are prescribed one or more medications to help treat the mental illness or illnesses that they are experiencing. These individuals can benefit greatly from having their medication managed so that they do not forget a dose or run out of medication because they forgot to get a refill. There is also a large population of individuals recovering from mental illness that are also recovering from an active substance use disorder. In this case, medication management can be helpful in preventing these patients from misusing their medications.
Improving social skills
Even those with the greatest social skills can struggle when transitioning from residential care to their regular lives. Transitional living for mental health allows patients to work on their social skills in several different settings prior to returning home. This is a huge benefit, as those with mental illness can struggle to pick up on social cues, manage their emotions well, and so on, all of which can compromise their recovery.
Transitional living for mental health is an excellent option for many people who are striving to establish the best possible foundation for their recovery. With time and effort, individuals once struggling with untreated mental illness can regain control of their lives and live peacefully.