New patients admitted into a psychiatric facility sometimes struggle with understanding the process of being in a hospital. Many
patients think they are okay after taking a dose of medications, and participating in two or three mental health groups. It’s common to hear patients say: It was a mistake, I wasn’t really going to hurt myself, or I don’t need to be here. However, when someone is reluctant to obtain treatment, it becomes difficult to educate them about mental health. Patients meet with a psychiatrist and other mental health professions while at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. During their inpatient stay, they will learn about coping skills, positive thinking skills, recreational skills, and have the ability to express their stressors and how to manage them. Patients are estimated to stay on an inpatient unit for seven to fourteen days. This is short compared to how long patients stayed in psychiatric hospitals decades ago. However, upon discharge, patients receive resources that will help them with treatment on a different level of care. Ongoing treatment typically is long term and helps patients process their mental health issues outside of a hospital setting.
There are programs across Maryland that assist patients with daily living skills. These skills can range from simple task like getting dressed, to difficult task like locating a job or identifying triggers. Patients discharged from an inpatient facility or have a difficult time with stressors in life, may be referred to a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (PRP). These programs give patients emotional and intellectual structure that is required to improve in their day-to-day living skills.
Some individuals live by themselves and have little to no family support. Families who are supportive, are not always available to provide a person what they need to manage their mental illness. When clients are in a PRP, families have a sense of security knowing their loved one is learning the necessary tools to control their mental illness. Here are a few things that are structured at a PRP:
*Community Outings – patients go on outings and get things they need for themselves. Things can consist of toiletries, clothes, shoes, groceries etc. When a person goes shopping for themselves it gives them the ability to be independent and makes them feel good about themselves.
*Coping Skills Groups – patients learn how to obtain coping skills. During group, they talk about triggers that affect their mental illness. Individuals come up with a list of coping skills and discuss them amongst the group. Patients that share stories receive support from their peers and mental health professionals.
*Meet with Psychiatrist/Mental health professions– patients will see a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner for medication management. The psychiatrist and mental health professionals observe patients while they are in the program. Professionals are able to witness what medications are working and what medications need to be eliminated, due to the patient’s behavior. It’s good to have consistent treatment to better the patient’s psychiatric care.
*Acceptance – When patients see their peers daily, it gives them a sense of acceptance. When patients are around people who are dealing with similar issues, they become a support system for each other and the environment becomes more like a family. They look forward to seeing each other, talk about what is going on in their personal lives, and encourage each other to stay positive and make good decisions.
*Education – in order for patients to grow and become independent they need to be educated. While in a PRP, patients have the ability ask questions about their treatment. They learn what medications are good for them and can talk about side effects they experience with the medication. Mental health professionals also educate the families to make sure treatment is consistent outside the PRP.
If a patient does not have a support system or ignores to follow up with outpatient treatment, their mental health goes untreated. Patients may return to a psychiatric inpatient hospital and their mental health worsens which causes problems in their future. If they are not consistent with treatment, they lose insight on what is required to manage their mental health. Some patients believe their primary physician can continue to prescribe them psychotropics, although their physician has the ability to do so, it’s important to see a specialist when handling psychiatric medication. Psychiatrist and other mental health prescribers are educated directly in mental health and have knowledge of what levels of medication a patient needs to be on due to their psychiatric and medical history.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs is like a child riding a bike with training wheels. They guided and encouraged people to practice and work on becoming better until they are able to ride the bike on their own. PRP is a vital support system for mental health. They have a variety of patients with different diagnosis in their programs along with educated staff who are available to make sure your loved one is on the road to success.