Mental health issues are more common than you might think. One in five adults in the United States experiences a mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

These conditions can affect your health and relationships, as well as your work and daily activities. Behavioral health treatment for mental health issues is critical to manage them successfully.

Talk with your doctor about the treatment option that’s right for you. If your symptoms are severe, an inpatient program might be best. If you can stay at home but need a lot of structure, your doctor might recommend partial hospitalization.

What Is Partial Hospitalization?

In a partial hospitalization program, you’ll participate in group, individual, and family sessions between four and six hours a day. When the treatment day ends, you’ll go back to your normal activities. In some programs you can continue to work, attend school, and take care of family needs.

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Are Partial Hospitalization and Outpatient Programs the Same?

There are some similarities between outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs, but they’re not the same. According to NAMI, partial hospitalization programs include at least 20 hours of treatment each week.

The more intensive program at UPMC Jameson includes a minimum of 20 hours of group therapy and education every week, with at least one hour set aside for individual and/or family therapy. Participants meet with a psychiatrist for weekly medicine management. In the less intensive treatment program, participants can attend three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for 12 hours of group therapy, and one hour of individual and/or family therapy each week.

What Illnesses Do Partial Hospitalization Programs Treat?

Partial hospitalization programs offer treatment for a wide range of illnesses. These include:

What Treatment Will I Have in a Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial hospitalization programs include a range of therapies and interventions. Your particular treatment will depend on your condition and life circumstances. Generally, you’ll work with a team of health professionals including psychiatrists, therapists, and nurses.

You might have individual counseling or take part in group therapy sessions. You’ll learn coping skills to help you manage challenging situations. You also may get help managing the medicines you take, or determining if a different medicine plan is better suited for you.

Some partial hospitalization programs offer wellness and integrative therapies like art and music therapy, nutrition counseling, and yoga.

Is Partial Hospitalization Right for Me?

It depends. Your doctor will talk with you about your condition, challenges, and the support systems in your life to see if partial hospitalization is a good fit.

Generally, you’ll need to:

  • Agree to take part in the program and cooperate with treatment
  • Have good support outside the program
  • Live in an environment that’s healthy for you to go home to each night

Your doctor might recommend that you try partial hospitalization before treatment in an inpatient program. Partial hospitalization may be the next step once you’re ready to leave an inpatient program.

Learn more about partial hospitalization and other behavioral health treatment options offered at UPMC Jameson.

Sources

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Link.

Dr. Deborah Serani, What to Expect If You Need Inpatient Hospitalization, Psychology Today blog, November 2019. Link.

Medicare Mental Health, Medicare Learning Network, January 2020. Link.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Mental Health Services Survey, Data on Mental Health Treatment Facilities, 2018. Link.

National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Partial Hospitalization. Link.

Efficacy of a Partial Hospital Programme for Adults With Eating Disorders, European Eating Disorders Review, 2018. Link.

About UPMC Western Behavioral Health

UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital is a nationally recognized leader in mental health clinical care, research, and education. It is one of the nation’s foremost university-based psychiatric care facilities through its integration with the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. UPMC Western Psychiatric is the hub of UPMC Western Behavioral Health, a network of nearly 60 community-based programs providing specialized mental health and addiction care for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors throughout western Pennsylvania.