Accreditations And More: Choosing the Right Mental Health Treatment Center

Accreditations And More: Choosing the Right Mental Health Treatment Center

In case you haven’t noticed, behavioral and mental health treatment centers aren’t particularly sparse in California. In fact, the amount of behavioral and mental health rehabilitation centers in California alone has risen 75% between the years of 2000 and 2017 out of what seems to be thin air.

But clients in need of mental health and substance abuse treatment beware: not every mental health service is the same. Services offered by behavioral health centers may be universal or varied. However, there’s a key in choosing the right behavioral health or addiction center for you, and it’s something called an accreditation or a license.

Unfortunately, many mental health and addiction providers provide the bare minimum. Only some have the operations credentials considered to be exceptional in the field of behavioral health, addiction treatment, and mental health treatment. Research is encouraged when deciding where to get help for mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, as well as dual-diagnosis treatment that includes a substance abuse disorder. Mental health treatment works if a healthcare facility works its hardest, too.

Climbing Demand

Depression, anxiety, other mental illnesses, and the consequences associated with them have reached record-high levels in California (and the United States as a whole). For example, youth suicide rates are at an alarming high.

Reasons for this steep incline are debatable, but no one can seem to pinpoint one all-telling cause for it. The mystery of causation can’t stand up against the cold, hard facts of consumer demand, however. Hence, treatment centers have been springing up in California for mental health treatment rampantly.

Despite the rise of mental health centers, over 56% of people with a mental health disorder still don’t get sufficient treatment. Further, it’s unclear whether that 56% includes those who have a mental illness who have already attended a treatment facility. If part of this 56% has, indeed, previously attended a mental health facility, this insufficiency could be particular treatment centers’ faults.

Either way, more people are also seeking help for their mental health disorders than ever before. Part of this is because many stigmas attached to mental illnesses are finally coming unraveled by the instantaneous information available to us 24/7 via the world wide web. This new comfortability with seeking help is excellent, but it’s wise to be careful in choosing where you get your care.

The Importance of Compliance Standards

Accreditations and licenses aren’t just badges of honor; they’re proof that the mental health facility that a client is planning to attend is considered outstanding by a highly-acclaimed organization. This means that this facility pretty much never stops upping their quality assurance standards and auditing their licensees’ operations.

If a mental health facility is marketing themselves as a provider for long-term residential mental health treatment, yet their accreditations are solely for addiction treatment, they might not be all they’re talking themselves up to be. Skewed advertising will undoubtedly cause client distrust as well as a lower chance for sustained recovery. The aim of the mental health industry should be to lead, not mislead.

What’s also important to consider is that accreditations can lead to clients paying less out-of-pocket expenses. Accreditations can affect the efficiency of billing insurance. The more certifications and accreditations a treatment center has, the more likely that a client’s insurance will pay for a wide range of treatment.

Not only this, but treatment centers with considerably more (or more accurate) accreditations will often get longer duration for the client paid for by insurance companies. That’s a win-win.

What Types of Licensing Accreditations Exist for Mental Health and Addiction?

Two indispensable compliance measures to look for when searching for mental health treatment in California are the Social Rehabilitation Facility License and the Joint-Commission Accreditation. A drug and alcohol facility license through the Department of Health Care Services requires that the patient have a primary substance use disorder.

Many establishments advertise themselves as providing “dual diagnosis” treatment, or treatment for Comorbidity, yet only attain one of the licenses mentioned above. Far less SRF-licensed mental health centers exist since their policies for approval are demanding.

Mental health treatment plans and their staff in these facilities must be expert-level. Financial savings and overall regulatory requirements are significantly higher and checked frequently- probably more often than almost any other licensing organization in the mental health arena.

The SRF license is through Community Care Licensing and comes in two parts: a license plus certification from the Department of Social Services and Department of Health Care Services. In other words, treatment centers that are licensed and accredited with SRF are continuously regulated by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Healthcare Services. That’s something to brag about.

You can search for SRF and Joint Commission-accredited mental health and addiction treatment centers in California here.

Other Questions To Ask

The importance of an accredited treatment center is visible. However, there are other matters to consider when deciding where and how you will get the highest quality of care for a mental disorder and/or an addiction.

For example, it’s essential to ask yourself whether the facility you are considering offers a wide range of proven therapies and services. How long is the duration of this program? What is their success rate? Do they accept health insurance?

Some questions are universally recommended to ask, while others may be more personal and individual to each potential client. No matter what, the best mental health treatment centers listen intently to their clients, their clients’ questions, and their suggestions.

Being a smart consumer is essential no matter what industry it is that you’re shopping in and the field of behavioral health is no exception. Your mind is the most crucial part of you – without it functioning optimally, everything else in life can fall apart. When you are trying to get your mental health in order, you must find the right spot to serve you. A treatment center  This way, you can achieve the quality of life you have craved, deserved, and that is well in-reach… if you know where to look.

If compliance standards are in place at an organization, that organization should undoubtedly move to the top of your list. If this treatment center is also warm and professional in addition to licensing and accreditation, you’ve found a perfect match.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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