- One of the best ways to continue care after inpatient-level or intensive depression treatment is by switching to an outpatient or day program.
- The most important skill to learn is how to integrate insights and behaviors learned during formal treatment into everyday life.
- The transition process often goes smoothest when it is gradual as opposed to sudden.
- Having an aftercare case manager during transitionary times can be tremendously helpful.
What Is Depression Treatment Aftercare?
Depression treatment aftercare involves any activity that helps an individual continue on a path of healing after a formal treatment program ends. This can involve a number of options, and the choice is often determined by the level of support an individual requires after leaving treatment and how far they have progressed in healing.
Common Depression Treatment Aftercare Options
Some of the most common depression treatment aftercare options include:
- Entering an outpatient or day program
- Finding a supportive group housing program
- Returning home with the guidance of a companion
- Continuing psychotherapy
- Family therapy programs
- Working with a case manager
How To Move Through the Stages of Depression Recovery
No matter what stage of recovery an individual is at, the best way to transition from one stage to another during treatment is always as gradually as possible. Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, the transition may begin with a full-time treatment program. Once the individual is stabilized and beginning to heal, they may be ready to move to a part-time program, but that decision cannot be made overnight. (Unfortunately, it often is when insurance companies dictate treatment timelines). Either way, any credible treatment program needs to account for aftercare and ensure the individual is ready for the next stage of recovery before moving forward.
At PCH, we understand the importance of aftercare to continue healing even after formal treatment has ended. Our Aftercare and Case Management Program
A Guide to Depression Treatment Aftercare Options
Whenever someone is transitioning from one stage of depression recovery to another, the best strategies to consider include:
Entering an Outpatient Or Day Program
The transition from inpatient or intensive treatment with full-time housing to day-to-day life can be very challenging. Individuals often have difficulty maintaining the state of well-being achieved during formal treatment.
To connect the skills and tools learned during intensive treatment with daily life, outpatient and day programs provide an ideal next step. They help individuals continue on the path of recovery while continually reinforcing what they learned during full-time treatment.
From there, they can reflect on how they are using what they learned in their regular life. Without an opportunity to reflect, however, skills learned during residential-level treatment rarely translate to long-term recovery.
Finding a Supportive Group Housing Program
Another opportunity to connect treatment with daily living is exploring the option of a supportive group housing program. This option is particularly useful for individuals with family members who interfere with healing or whose depression symptoms may be triggered by a toxic work environment.
Supportive group housing is more flexible than residential-level treatment. Individuals are often free to come and go as they please, but they also have the support of a like-minded community to help them continue recovery.
Returning Home With a Recovery Companion
When the time comes to return home, an individual may already have the foundation they need to confidently move forward. However, when they do not, returning home with a recovery companion can help make the transition more gradual. The person may not feel comfortable healing in a group or community, or they may simply decide home is the environment most conducive to their recovery. Whatever the case, a recovery companion provides more focused, one-on-one support as needed, gradually stepping back as the individual grows more independent.
When considering depression aftercare options, continuing psychotherapy to some degree is arguably the most critical. The continued benefits of therapy may not always be apparent, especially after the individual has achieved their core recovery goals. However, therapy can often be most beneficial when someone thinks they need it least, such as during periods of stress, change, transition, or when everything seems to be going fine. Continuing therapy when everything seems fine is generally one of the best ways to ensure healing continues to progress when someone is in recovery.
Family Therapy Programs
Family therapy works to take the spotlight off the individual struggling with depression and encourages family members to reflect on themselves and the role they play in the recovery journey. The support and impact of family members has the power to make or break someone, especially following depression treatment.
Enrolling in a family therapy program following residential-level depression treatment is almost just as critical as the individual continuing psychotherapy. Family therapy gives family members the confidence they need to know that the support they are providing is conducive to healing. It can also help them understand the behaviors they may be engaging in that are counterproductive to recovery.
Working With a Depression Case Manager
During periods of transition following depression treatment, it can be challenging to ensure that all treatment teams are working toward the same goals and approaching any related issues with the same priorities. It is not rare to require a specialized individual to help navigate the process. These people are called case managers, and their job is to ensure that the transitional periods between treatments go as smoothly as possible without getting in the way of the healing journey.
PCH Starts Depression Treatment Aftercare From Day One
At PCH, depression treatment aftercare is so critical to long-term recovery that we build it into our approach from day one. We start thinking about how to set individuals up for success from the beginning of their treatment. Once stabilized, our team works with each client to develop a framework that connects intensive treatment with well-being in daily life.