Stress accompanies the shift to full independence under normal circumstances for most teenagers and young adults. However, the daily stress resulting from disrupted routines and increased isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic is leading to a spike in mental health disorders in teenagers and young adults. A recent article in Psychiatry Research reported survey findings revealing that 83 percent of teenagers living with a mental health disorder (such as depression or an eating disorder) indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had either worsened or magnified their symptoms.
The following describes the seven best mental health treatment centers in the US for adolescents and young adults, as well as some factors to consider in deciding whether an inpatient or an outpatient treatment setting is best for you, your loved ones or as a family. Additionally, discussed below is how your insurance coverage parameters – regardless of whether you are insured by a private or governmental insurance plan – may affect your decision-making in terms of mental health treatment options.
1) McLean Hospital (Belmont, MA)
Affiliated with Harvard Medical School, this psychiatric hospital near Boston was founded in 1811. One of its most famous patients was known as “Boomer” musician, James Taylor (who admitted himself to this hospital at around age 17 and wrote some of the songs for his first album while an inpatient.) This certainly shows that experiencing a mental health disorder in your youth does not have to stop you from having a fulfilling and amazing life!
For adult psychiatric treatment, McLean Hospital was nationally-ranked in first place by US News and World Report in 2020, offering both adult and and outpatient treatment. In its pediatric programs, youth aged 3-19 are treated for such diagnoses as depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. In addition, their website notes that this teaching hospital also offers specialty programs focused on both Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and personality disorders (as DMS-5-diagnosed mental health disorders).
2) Newport Academy (Washington, California & Connecticut)
Providing both inpatient and outpatient treatment, this center specializes in treating adolescents and young adults, ages 12-22, struggling with teenage depression, teen anxiety, eating disorders, teen trauma, teen dual diagnosis, and teenage substance abuse. The focus is on psychological, behavioral, and/or substance abuse issues with an emphasis on empowering teens and restoring the family unit through clinical expertise and a holistic approach. Their approach includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Individual therapy;
- Family therapy;
- Recovery Lifestyle;
- Music therapy; and
- Equine-assisted therapy.
In addition, Newport Academy offers adolescent patients who want to continue to pursue their academic studies with peers coping with mental health and/or substance abuse may be able to enroll in one of Newport Academy’s three day-schools (which are located in Darien, CT, Newport Beach, CA, and Malvern, PA).
3) Menninger Clinic (Houston, TX)
Founded in 1925, the Menninger Clinic provides on their 50-acre campus both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment to adults and youth (including teenagers). Their youth-focused outpatient programs include a Center for Brain Stimulation, addiction services, outpatient therapy, and sleep disorder treatment in their Sleep Medicine Service.
4) Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hospital (Baltimore, MD)
This psychiatric hospital, founded in 1853, offers inpatient and outpatient treatment to adults, teenagers, and children. They have several locations in Maryland (with their main campus in Baltimore) and have a specialized inpatient unit for youth aged 5-17 with autism located at its Towson, MD campus.
5) Brattleboro Retreat (Brattleboro, VT)
Founded in 1834, the Brattleboro Retreat is a nonprofit inpatient psychiatric hospital treating adults, teenagers, and children with mental health disorders. Their Adolescent Inpatient Program is open to youth aged 12-18, and their website specifies that they “utilize a treatment philosophy based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)”. Similar to the Newport Academy, they offer the capacity for their child and adolescent clients to continue their studies at their school (Meadows Education Center) which is approved for K-12 by the Vermont State Board of Education.
6) Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics at the University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
As California’s first neuropsychiatric institute, Langley Porter (as it is commonly-called) was founded in 1941. Besides offering mental health inpatient and outpatient services to adults, this institute provides inpatient and outpatient care for children and teenagers. Some of the issues in youth addressed at Langley Porter are:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD);
- Eating Disorders; and
- Tourette’s disorder (and other tic disorders).
7) Austin-Riggs Center (Stockbridge, MA)
This inpatient psychiatric center located in rural western Massachusetts describes itself as a “therapeutic community” with an “open psychiatric hospital” for people aged 18 and older. One of their specialties is treating people who have multiple diagnoses (and their treatment sphere includes both mental health disorders and substance abuse). As described on their website, the three principles underpinning their treatment philosophy are:
- Relationships are central in human life;
- Symptoms have meaning that can be understood; and
- Patients have authority in their own lives, including their treatment.
Impact of Health Insurance on Mental Health Care
Nothing has as huge an impact on where you can receive care (along with the exact nature of that care) in the US as whether you have health insurance – and your insurance plan may be determined by your employer and/or your financial capacity to pay a particular plan’s monthly premium. While things have tremendously changed since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in 2010, health insurance companies typically reserve the right to deny any coverage they deem not to be “medically necessary”.
Consequently, in most cases you will need to receive a diagnosis corresponding to one listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), 5th Edition, and you may need to file an appeal if your insurer decides that outpatient care is sufficient when you may require inpatient treatment. If your insurer is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), you may be required to utilize only “in-network” facilities. Alternatively, some PPOs do allow utilization of “out-of-network” facilities if you bear more of the total cost “out-of-pocket”. Less than 1 percent of all health insurance plans in the US are the FFS plans allowing total patient choice (with a progressively-downward trend from 73 percent in 1988), per a Kaiser Family Foundation report.
As well-understood regarding the cost of medical care in the US, the full cost of paying for mental health services (especially inpatient services) entirely “out-of-pocket” is astronomical, but all healthcare-providing facilities (including mental healthcare-providing facilities) do welcome “self-pay” patients/clients. This is because the financial reimbursement is often higher than that provided by an insurance plan.
It is crucial that you check with your insurance plan prior to scheduling an appointment with a mental health therapist and/or choosing a psychiatric hospital (or center) to receive services. In that way, you can ascertain whether you will have to pay a specific percentage of the cost yourself and/or whether your insurance will cover care at your preferred treatment facility.
The Consequence of Untreated Depression and Anxiety
Obtaining inpatient or outpatient treatment if you have been diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety matters because these disorders can have a negative effect on your long-term physical and mental health. Moreover, depression and anxiety can contribute to your withdrawal from loved ones and lessen your “quality-of-life” – as well as contribute to development of a substance abuse disorder. If you or your loved one is suffering from what may be a mental health disorder do not hesitate in contacting a mental health facility to guide you in the right direction to a better you. The right environment is the key to a successful recovery.