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A color photograph of a community mental health center. It shows the four-floor center from the outside and is taken from the far end of the parking lot.
Figure 5.1 Group therapy can occur in a variety of settings, such as this session in the woods by a river. (credit: “Men Sitting Talking by River Outdoors” by JourneyPure Rehab/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The available therapeutic settings within a community, both inpatient and outpatient, are an important consideration when providing appropriate psychiatric-mental health care. Nurses and other health-care providers should be knowledgeable about the resources their community has to offer.

Not all communities have the same mental health resources accessible. There may be instances when the most therapeutic option is a resource found in another community. Networking between facilities is an important part of working in the psychiatric-mental health (PMH) field. Positive working relationships between facilities create better outcomes for clients by providing more options for treatment. Reaching out can include calling facilities to find out if they currently have a program to address a client’s needs, finding out if beds are available if inpatient treatment is necessary, and even asking if someone from a facility can provide interprofessional team training on their services. Because the least restrictive environment that is safe and effective is the most therapeutic setting, place preference on keeping a client in the community for as long as possible before considering an inpatient placement.


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