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Types of Residential Mental Health Facilities (& How to Find One) 

residential mental health facilities for youth

If your loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, a residential treatment facility may be the best course of action in helping them recover. Residential mental health treatment is designed to help people manage their symptoms, cope with difficult triggers, and develop the skills to live a healthy, independent life. It is an intensive, high level of care in which clients live at the facility in which they are receiving treatment. Therefore, it is often recommended for those with more serious mental health symptoms, like suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, co-occurring drug abuse, or the inability to carry out day-to-day tasks.  

There are many different types of residential mental health facilities, each with their own therapeutic approaches, expertise, programs, clients, and community. Some residential treatment facilities, for example, are meant specifically for young people struggling with mental health disorders. This is because adolescents and young adults have very unique needs in a treatment setting.  

Residential mental health facilities may also vary in the length of their programs and in the environments they set for their clients. For example, there are residential treatment programs in hospitals, schools, and dedicated treatment facilities. Some are long-term treatment programs, while others are just a matter of days/weeks. This can vary place to place, and person to person, depending on their individual needs. 

As you research the different types of residential mental health facilities for your loved one, it is important to consider their situation, symptoms, and needs at this time. It is also vital to speak with a clinical professional who can provide your loved one with a formal assessment and determine the level of treatment needed. Residential treatment is not right for everyone, but it does have many benefits for those struggling with serious mental health disorders.  

What are the Benefits of Residential Mental Health Treatment? 

Residential mental health facilities offer a clinically-focused, live-in treatment setting, where clients are continuously monitored, supervised, and supported by expert staff. The goal of these facilities is to provide a safe, stable, and positive environment where clients can recover – without distractions or pressure. This allows them to focus on their healing and wellbeing entirely, as well as have access to care when and whenever they need it. The main benefits of residential mental health treatment are: 

  • A safe, secure, and stable environment, away from outside pressures, interruptions, and triggers 
  • Removal from one’s current situation or environment, which may not be supportive or healthy 
  • 24/7 watchful care and access to trained clinicians and counselors, when its needed most 
  • Different therapies and treatments offered to help them overcome symptoms and prepare for life after treatment (including a focus on skills development) 
  • Structured living and routines full of healthy activities, therapies, and self-care time 
  • A community of other people in recovery, with shared experiences, supporting one another 

Common Types of Residential Mental Health Treatment Facilities 

As noted above, there are several different types of inpatient or residential mental health treatment facilities. Certain residential treatment settings are recommended for young people, while others are recommended more for adults struggling with mental health. Below are some examples of residential treatment programs for those struggling with mental health issues. 

  • Residential Mental Health Treatment Centers:  

Residential treatment centers are dedicated to providing clinical care, therapy, and support for anyone struggling with mental health issues. Their staff is expertly trained in mental health care services, and their programs are dedicated to ensuring clients have a safe healing environment. Treatment programs may be specialized for certain demographics. For example, Turnbridge specializes in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults, and has separate programs for both young men and young women. This enables the programs, environments, and community to be supportive of residents’ needs at their current stage of life, and allows them to be supported by peers walking in similar shoes. 

It is also worth noting that residential mental health treatment centers are not hospitalized settings. While there are therapeutic and clinical components involved, these facilities are also equipped with comfortable residences, fun recreational events, exercise gyms, nutritious meals, academic counseling, and holistic activities like yoga, art, music, hiking, and more. 

According to a Connecticut government source, a youth mental health treatment center “provides psychiatric and other therapeutic and clinically informed services to individuals under age 21, whose immediate treatment needs require a structured 24-hour inpatient residential setting that provides all required services (including schooling) on site while simultaneously preparing the child/adolescent and family for ongoing treatment in the community.” 

  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment Facilities: 

Dual diagnosis treatment centers are a type of residential mental health treatment facility designed for people struggling with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. They share many of the qualities and approaches of residential psychiatric or mental health treatment centers. However, they have a dedicated staff who are trained and prepared to help residents struggling with substance addiction. These clinicians understand the complex relationship between co-occurring mental and substance disorders, and use evidence-based, behavioral treatment methods to help treat both disorders at the same time and place. 

It is estimated that more than 17 million Americans are battling both a mental health disorder and alcohol or drug use disorder. These conditions often co-occur, are complex, and are also difficult to treat. Therefore, it is recommended that those with co-occurring disorders attend a dual diagnosis treatment program that is fully prepared to treat all conditions in an integrated manner. You can learn more about inpatient dual diagnosis treatment here. 

  • Therapeutic Boarding Schools: 

Therapeutic boarding schools are a type of residential education facility that offers academic schooling as well as mental health support for “troubled” teens. Adolescents who attend therapeutic boarding schools typically are those who have struggled in a traditional school setting, or whose mental health or behavioral disorders may be getting in the way of their academic success. Therapeutic boarding schools offer secure living quarters for these teens, as well as academic classes by grade level, and encourage a strict schedule and structure throughout their day. These facilities deliver only limited medical or mental health care services (typically provided by facility nurses). Therefore, they are recommended for teens who are not actively struggling with a serious mental illness. 

  • Wilderness Treatment Programs: 

Wilderness treatment programs are shorter-term residential programs for teenagers and young adults. Unlike your traditional mental health care setting, these programs are often offered outdoors and utilize experiential therapies for clients. They take a very hands-on approach to recovery and allow teenagers to get outside, develop critical life skills, establish independence and confidence, as well as encourage stronger mental and physical health. They are typically set away from the mainstream world, and supervised by trained staff. Wilderness therapy programs are a great option for teens struggling with troubled behavior and conduct disorders. However, those with more serious mental health disorders and symptoms will require long-term residential care. 

  • Therapeutic Group Homes: 

Therapeutic group homes are designed to serve children and adolescents who do not have a safe, stable living environment, and who are struggling with significant behavioral health or developmental issues. The structure of these programs is mainly designed to provide a home and supervision for these children, while also ensuring children have access to proper care. Unlike a residential mental health treatment facility, however, therapeutic group homes do not always have on-site clinical staff. Rather, clinical services are typically brought to and provided in the home. 

  • Hospitalized Residential Settings: 

Private and public hospitals also provide inpatient mental health treatment and services for those struggling with serious symptoms. Sometimes these services are provided within a dedicated, inpatient behavioral health program, while others are provided in a more general hospital setting. Hospital-oriented programs are typically shorter in length, but are focused on clinical support and care. They are best fit for those with serious or severe mental health symptoms, and serve as a good steppingstone to longer-term treatment programs and continuing care, where clients can continue to build their skills and focus on recovery. 

According to Mental Health America (MHA), “Hospitalization may be needed to allow for a period during which the individual can be closely monitored to provide accurate diagnosis, to help adjust or stabilize medications, or during an acute episode where a person’s mental illness temporarily worsens.” This may be the case of a loved one is in danger of hurting themselves or others, even if they do not wish to enter a hospital setting. MHA continues, “While seeking help voluntarily is always preferable, if that is at all possible, the decision to hospitalize involuntarily can be more caring than it seems if that is the only way your family member or friend can get the care they need.” 

If your loved one is experiencing thoughts of suicide, harmful behaviors, and/or is at danger to themselves or others, it is important to seek immediate help. Call your doctor, local hospital, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – a crisis hotline for those struggling with suicidal thoughts. 

How to Find a Residential Mental Health Facility for Treatment 

Finding the right residential mental health facility for your loved one is an important task. However, this decision will depend on their current situation, the symptoms and the severity of their disorder, and their individual needs. As a next step, it is important that you speak with your clinician, counselor, or a mental health treatment provider for advice. Schedule a health assessment if you have not already, to fully understand what your loved one needs at this time. As you research different mental health facilities, do not hesitate to ask questions about their therapies offered, treatment approaches, specializations, and more. For ideas on what to ask, visit our article here. 

Turnbridge is a residential mental health treatment provider for young adults and adolescents struggling with mental illness, eating disorders, and substance addiction. We offer dual diagnosis treatment services and have dedicated staff who understand the implications of mental health treatment for youth. If you would like to learn about our programs, or simply need guidance on what to do next, do not hesitate to call. Contact Turnbridge at 877-581-1793 today.