4 Reasons to Join an Intensive Outpatient Program for Mental Illness

If you want to use the New Year to kickstart your mental health journey, an Intensive Outpatient Program can give you the perfect balance. Let’s discuss why you might need an intensive outpatient program and what the treatment entails.

For the second year running, our New Year’s resolutions are colored by the uncertain state of the world. With COVID-19 rife yet again, many people are back in lockdown. This has led to uncertainty over how 2022 will pan out while triggering or worsening mental illness for some people.

It may be difficult to make some decisions now, but joining an intensive outpatient program is worth considering if you are struggling with mental illness. But what is an intensive outpatient program?

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

An intensive outpatient program is a course of mental health treatment that is similar to what you would receive in an inpatient program. You have a group and/or individual sessions each day with licensed mental health practitioners. However, you do not stay in the psychiatric center as a resident. Instead, you go home at the end of the day.

There is no program as intensive as an inpatient program, which ensures that residents are always in an environment of growth, but intensive outpatient treatment comes close. It is also the best option for people who, for whatever reason, cannot commit to inpatient treatment. With COVID-19 now a constant consideration, more people are wary of spending time in an institution.

Here are 4 reasons to join an intensive outpatient program in 2022.

1. Invest in Yourself

People struggling with mental illness are often resistant to investing in themselves. They may think that they don’t deserve to spend a lot of time focusing on their own well-being. This is sometimes a symptom of mental illness.

But investing in yourself is the best thing both for you and the people around you. An intensive outpatient program is a commitment to taking the time necessary to work on your mental health. You are putting yourself on the path to living a happy, healthy, balanced life.

Attending an intensive outpatient program gives you the chance to do so without having to stay away from your home and family. While time away from family can be extremely helpful when treating your mental health, some individuals cannot commit to this.

2. Set Yourself up for Success

Treating your mental health in an intensive outpatient program is not just about achieving a comfortable status quo. Rather, it is a route towards success in all areas of your life, including your family, career, and social life.

In intensive outpatient treatment, you will learn to feel your emotions more vividly, without them overwhelming you. You will learn to assert yourself among other people while being open to their needs. You will learn to ask for what you need from the people you love and those with who you have to work.

By the end of intensive outpatient treatment, you will have the skills to achieve your goals by setting boundaries, keeping your mood and motivation stable, and living fully.

3. Be Vulnerable with Likeminded People

Opening up about your mental health issues is tough, even with the people you love. This does not necessarily mean that they are not providing a safe space for you. Rather, many of us learnt growing up that sharing our feelings was something we were not meant to do, and even that it was dangerous.

When you attend an intensive outpatient program, you meet others just like you who are going through similar mental health issues. They become a safe space in which you will feel more comfortable be vulnerable. In this space, you will work on your ability to be vulnerable around others, a skill that you will bring home to the people you love.

The presence of a trained facilitator ensures that you get the nudge you need to share in groups, with the knowledge that there is someone to help you if you become overwhelmed.

4. Learn to Accept Yourself

In intensive outpatient treatment, you will start to learn to accept yourself. One of the reasons we deny ourselves treatment is that we feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. We imagine that we should manage on our own, without the help of professionals.

Part of the process in intensive outpatient treatment is learning to accept that there is nothing wrong with you. Mental illness is something millions of people in the United States alone are going through. As is true with physical illness, it is not a failing but simply something that happens.

With this understanding, you begin to accept yourself, which gives you the foundation from which you will grow.