Coping with Life After Residential Mental Health Treatment

April 17, 2014 Lauren Hardy, MA

Choosing to enter a residential treatment program for mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse is a major decision and, for many, a step in the right direction for a better life. However, once the program is completed, it can leave you wondering what’s next. Leaving a residential treatment program can be scary and can bring about a whole host of questions and concerns. This is especially true if you have become reliant on the staff and other patients for support; in many instances these individuals have become family to you.

Treatment Program: Lauren Hardy M.A., writes on the behalf of The Refuge which is committed to providing the highest level of trauma, addiction, and mood disorder treatment.

APA Reference
Hardy, L. (2014, April 17). Coping with Life After Residential Mental Health Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Lauren Hardy, MA

April, 18 2014 at 12:23 pm

I wish i was able to get the residential treatment i need. I have PTSD/DID and medicare/medicaid won't cover residential treatment. No one knows how to help me anymore, there is acknowledgment that I need a higher level of care but no way for me to get it. The inpatient programs in my state aren't designed to treat what I have, there is no individual therapy on any unit. PHPs won't allow me to discuss the DID. I'm at a loss of where to turn, as is my entire treatment team. I finally quit outpatient therapy this week because under two hours a week isn't enough to help me. I badly need and want help but have no way to get it.

April, 18 2014 at 12:25 pm

I should also add my inpatient days under medicare are gone for psych stays, so I can't go out of state to the one hospital that helped me, and so i'm stuck with care in state. The care in my state isn't designed for me and yet I'm being told to go to the hospital even with everyone knowing it won't help just because it's all there is to offer me. I don't want to be babysat, i want to get better and get treatment and it's so difficult to want it and not have away to get it.

April, 18 2014 at 7:30 pm

Dear Mary,
I am with you on this subject. It is extremely difficult to want and need the treatment, know the type or kind of treatment that best fits with your individual situation, and NOT have a way to get it!
I honestly believe if I were able to open up my own treatment center, the focus would be on empowering the people to NOT feel like sick patients, putting them to work or a purpose of some kind, nutrition, exercise, compassion, and MOST Importantly, having an AFTERCARE coach/buddy/mentor to "BE THE BRIDGE" between mental health departure and entering back into the real world. This is where MOST mental health (and substance abuse people) populations fall between the cracks! There is not proper 1-2 year after care for anyone! It is a new business awaiting to be put into place. As it does not exist, except for the Rich and Famous who can hire out @ 5000 a month or more for a personal life/spiritual/health coach.
I wish you the best,

April, 19 2014 at 9:41 am

Hi Sofie,
You are completely correct. My problem is I can't even get the help that will give me a shot at being well and healthy. It's clear to my treatment team what I need but they don't know how to make it happen. Medicare is stupid to not cover residential treatment because in the long run it costs them more money. I'm not getting the help i need now and so I'm still not working and still on medicare, disability, and the like. Whereas if I got the proper treatment and support I could eventually move off that stuff and pay taxes and have my own insurance. In this country though you only seem to be able to get real therapeutic treatment if you are mega-rich. Some residential treatment centers claim to offer financial help or scholarships, but you generally have to pay for a certain length of stay on your own first. Living on under $900 a month it's completely impossible for me to do so. It frustrates me to see people who need and want the help have absolutely no way to access it. It's there, it exists, but it might as well be on the moon for all the good it does me.
Group homes are covered under medicare or medicaid, but I've worked in them and they provide custodial care, not treatment. I don't want to be baby-sat. I want the treatment I need to get past the issues cause by childhood sexual abuse so that I can go and live a life. When did treatment become not treatment but just baby-sitting unless you are lucky enough to have money?

Vicki Hopkins
April, 22 2014 at 9:24 am

I was in a 30+ day residential treatment center in 1996 for trauma/sexual abuse, depresssion, etc. There were also two programs my then therapist sent me to that were completely inappropriate. I did learn skills there and was dependent upon the staff. I did every assignment and met with my therapist there every day. When I returned home, I had very poor follow up and we very lost.
I found my own groups to connect with and then finally changed therapists and that has made a huge difference. I would suggest prior to going that you do extensive research on exactly where you are going and discuss what kind of follow up you will need. When I look back, it was actually more traumatizing than if I had had better treatment at home. But there are some excellent programs out there.but have a plan in place for your return. It wasn't until afterwards I really learned how to I spent most of the time scared. So make sure you are really prepared and understand what is expected and the follow up. Just my opinion.

Margel Harrison
April, 22 2014 at 10:42 am

how do you find a good treatment for a person with severe depression and anger issues. Insurance is an issue too at this time.

Vicki Hopkins
April, 22 2014 at 1:36 pm

I was in a Residential Treatment Center for Trauma and Abuse in 1996, although I did learn some new skills and how to use Art to express myself, my follow up by my then therapist was poor, I found other groups to participate in and went from group to group until I found my current has been a long, long journey, many life changes....accepting the truth and eliminating my "illusions" and "fantasy" under which I lived for so long marriage ended...which was for the best in the long run....I have found support in many places..and with many people...I am careful who I share my journey/story with...I have learned how to process, I use Art, Music, Movement, Writing, and many different ways to express myself...for my strict DBT or CBT was not the answer....I needed more freedom for all kinds of follow up was poor, some of the programs I participated in while at the treatment center were inappropriate..and ended up causing additional damage...this has been a life long journey...I am now almost 66....and still doing "my work"...if you decide to go inpatient, make sure you do your research...about the place you wish to go...what services are provided, what is the population....and what will be your follow up...have these plans in place prior to going...have your support in hard, and learn from others, and take time to rest...think, and learn more about yourself...try NOT to judge as everyone's story is different...and everyone reacts differently...participate as much as you you will gain more...and best of luck....but please, please check things out first...and make certain it is a good fit for you...and that there is that proper and secure follow up in place !!!

Ashley J
April, 27 2014 at 12:57 am

Have any of you been to the center a place of hope?

May, 3 2015 at 9:18 am

Many patients do not receive the appropriate help in these treatment centers. My daughter was in one in NJ [moderated], and in breach of their state licensing agreement, she was put into a group with other patients who had serious drug abuse problems. She had no previous history of drug abuse. She was 19 at the time. We were not kept informed of the downward spiral she had descended into., including a serious eating disorder. They did not emphasize their no-fraternizing rule, and she started hanging out with the kids still using drugs while in the program. Some serious drugs were made available to her while she was hanging out with these kids. She had a positive drug test during the last two weeks before she was discharged with a happy face diploma because the insurance had cut her off. The insurance company claimed she should be moved to a weekly one on one therapy session. We, as her parents who were paying for her treatment, were not notified of anything. She went back to college addicted to drugs and died three weeks later from a drug overdose.

December, 13 2018 at 8:52 am

Why are yall not helping me???

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