Mental health facilities like Ascend provide essential care for individuals struggling with mental health and addiction issues. Unfortunately, a shortage of beds in mental health facilities has led to long wait lists before admittance. The lack of beds for teen mental health treatment, in particular, has kept teens from being able to access the care they need, which can make symptoms worse.
If you need to know what to expect from worsening mental health concerns or what coping strategies can help you survive, read this blog from our experts.
Effects of a Mental Health Facility Bed Shortage on You
The mental health facility bed shortage can have serious consequences for anyone who needs care. Clients can be left waiting for an extended period before being admitted, or they may be denied treatment altogether, prolonging the onset of care. The longer an individual goes without treatment, the worse their symptoms can become. Prolonged wait times can lead to:
Furthermore, the stress and uncertainty of a long wait list can exacerbate existing symptoms or even trigger new ones. Without proper care, individuals may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, which can cause further harm to their mental and physical health.
If you notice your symptoms are getting worse or new symptoms are emerging, make sure to communicate with your support system, including parents, counselors, teachers, therapists, and doctors.
Ways to Navigate the Bed Shortage at Mental Health Facilities
Navigating the bed shortage crisis can be challenging, but there are ways you can navigate this difficulty. There are a few actionable steps you can take to ensure you get into a mental health facility as soon as possible, including self-care, telehealth, and outpatient treatment.
Self-Care at Home
It’s too easy to let your self-care routine fall by the wayside when dealing with the frustration of bed shortages at mental health facilities. However, skipping your routine and isolating yourself is a sure recipe for exacerbating your symptoms and worsening your conditions. Any time you feel everything is closing in on you, take the time to do something for yourself, whether it’s a few minutes of meditation, taking a walk, or journaling about your feelings.
Have a Backup Plan
You might have your heart set on a specific treatment center, but you should still talk to different facilities about bed availability. Start a list of potential treatment options to ensure that you have a fallback if the bed shortages at mental health facilities derail your plan.
It’s important to note that some treatment centers may have different wait times for different programs, so be sure to ask about all available treatment options — not just the one recommended for you.
Another solution to consider is outpatient treatment. This type of care often has a shorter wait time and doesn’t require a bed, which can increase the availability of care. Outpatient treatment is often part of a continuing care plan, which combines therapy and medication management with other treatment modalities, like case management services.
Virtual Mental Health Care
The final solution to combat bed shortages at mental health facilities is telehealth. Telehealth allows you to receive treatment virtually, which can increase access to care for individuals who may not have transportation or live in a remote area. While telehealth might not be the right treatment option for everyone, it can help bridge the gap in care caused by bed shortages.
Call Ascend Today for Residential Treatment
If you’re a parent of a teen struggling with mental health and addiction issues or a teen doing research on their own, Ascend can help you figure out solutions to the bed shortages at mental health facilities.
While we have wait lists for some of our programs, we’re constantly expanding in order to offer more support to our community. Explore our residential teen mental health treatment programs or outpatient services to see if they’re the right fit, and check out our list of resources to discover additional organizations that may be able to help you through the mental health facility bed shortage.