It’s more clear than ever — mental health care is changing, and not just the field of teen mental health treatment. Thanks to a combination of factors like insurance changes, new legislation, and the effects of social media, there are more options available now than ever before for adults and teenagers alike, including targeted adolescent residential mental health treatment programs, outpatient services, and digital, in-home therapy.
Learn more about some of the ways that mental health care is changing to discover alternative paths toward better mental health for teens and their families.
1. Insurance Changes
One of the biggest changes in mental health care is the way that insurance companies are starting to cover mental health services. In the past, many insurance plans didn’t cover mental health care at all, or only covered a limited number of visits. However, thanks to the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008, insurance companies are now required to cover mental health care at the same level as they cover physical health care. This change has made it easier for people to get the mental health care they need.
2. New Legislation
In addition to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, there have been several other pieces of legislation passed in recent years that have had an impact on mental health care. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all insurance plans to offer coverage for mental health services and addiction treatment, while the 21st Century Cures Act provides funding for research into new treatments for mental health conditions.
More recently, congress passed the Family First Prevention Services Act to make it easier for families to access preventive services, like counseling, that can help reduce the need for more intensive interventions later on. Adults also get more protections for family leave that ensure they can be there for struggling teens. Together, these pieces of legislation are slowly but surely paving the way for more advancements in mental health care.
3. Increased Awareness
Another factor that has contributed to the changing landscape of mental health care is increased awareness. Thanks to organizations like NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), as well as the effects of social media and the struggles of marginalized and BIPOC communities to get care, more people are aware of mental health conditions and their impact on individuals and families. While the stigma of mental health treatment still exists in many places, the increased awareness has made it easier for people to seek help when they need it.
4. Changes in Education
The way that younger generations think about mental health care is also changing due to education. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on teaching children about emotional intelligence and social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL programs are designed to help students develop skills like:
- Social awareness
- Relationship skills
- Responsible decision-making
These skills can help students navigate challenges like anxiety, depression, and stress in their lives — ensuring young people know about the importance of mental health and preventing more serious problems down the road.
5. New Approaches to Treatment
As the understanding of mental health evolves, so do the treatments available. In addition to traditional approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), there are also comprehensive experiential treatments available, such as mindfulness-based therapy, art therapy, and drama therapy. In addition, experimental treatments like k therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are gaining more traction as research continues. All of these advancements in mental health care give providers and clients more options when it comes to finding an effective treatment approach.
6. More Focus on Prevention
Mental health care is changing in regards to prevention, too. More and more organizations are focusing on preventive care for mental health, such as early intervention services for children at risk of developing a mental health condition. In addition, programs like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are providing companies with the resources they need to help their employees manage their mental health. Through these efforts, the stigma of mental health is decreasing and more people are receiving the help they need.
Mental Health Care Is Changing for the Better
At Ascend, we’re continually learning and adapting. As mental health care changes, we’ll be on the forefront of finding new ways to support our clients and their families. We’ll be incorporating advancements in mental health care any way we can so you can feel confident that every service we provide is backed by the latest research and evidence.