All About Psych Rehab

Psychiatric Rehabilitation (or Psych Rehab) occupies a unique space in the spectrum of mental health services. Check out our Q&A below with Kelly Shuler, Director of Recovery Services at Skills of Central PA, to learn about this program that is making a difference for people experiencing persistent mental health challenges.

What is Psychiatric Rehabilitation?

Psychiatric Rehabilitation is a mental health service to help people with long-term psychiatric disabilities, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other severe mental health challenges. Psych Rehab staff help participants to set specific goals for themselves (such as getting a job, being a tenant, or enrolling in school), and achieving those goals through teaching, coaching, planning, and more. We help people look at how their mental health symptoms have created barriers in their everyday life routines and habits.  We then help them develop the skills and acquire the resources needed to remove or work around those barriers.

The ultimate goal is for participants to become successful and satisfied in the environments of their choice with the least amount of ongoing professional intervention.

Where is it provided?

Skills of Central PA provides Psych Rehab services in Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Jefferson, and Lycoming Counties. [Please contact us for more information about service in your region.]

Who is eligible for Psych Rehab services?

Eligibility criteria for Psych Rehab include:

  • Diagnosis of schizophrenia, mood disorder, psychotic disorder, borderline personality disorder, or schizoaffective. Individuals can obtain an exception from Managed Care if they have a diagnosis other than those listed.
  • Must have Medical Assistance (MA). However, certain counties cover non-MA participants, so please get in contact if you are interested but not covered by MA.
  • The individual must agree to receive service and participate voluntarily.

How is it paid for?

Psych Rehab is typically paid for through Medical Assistance programs, but exceptions can be made for certain counties. Please contact us if you have questions about this!

How are goals set and who creates those goals?

Psych Rehab is intentionally self-directed. Individuals decide their own goals, and plan the direction and focus of their support while in the program. Participants often create goals based on particular roles they play in life, such as a worker, family member, tenant, friend, or member of an organization or group.

What kinds of activities might people do in Psych Rehab to work towards their goals?

Services can be delivered one-on-one in the environment of choice (such as a home, coffee shop, or other location), or at a site in a group setting offered by Skills. We work to ensure staff availability is flexible and adjusted to meeting the participants’ needs as necessary.

At the start of service, staff complete a strengths-based assessment. Then, the staff develop a goal with the individual and plan interventions to help that person get the skills and resources they need to be successful.

Staff use a combination of teaching methods and skills-building resources to help participants reach their goals. Staff offer social skills teaching, modeling, coaching, shared decision making, motivational interviewing, role play, side by side practice, tell-show-do, personal medicine, wellness recovery action planning, and wellness coaching.

How does Psychiatric Rehabilitation differ from (or complement) other common mental health treatment programs, such as outpatient therapy/counseling and inpatient treatment?

Psych Rehab is a non-clinical, recovery-focused program.  We work as just one part of a person’s team of providers. For example, as we provide Psych Rehab for a person, a psychiatrist may treat their symptoms through medication relief, a therapist may conduct therapy sessions to help the person deal with trauma and other issues, and a case manager may assess needs and link the person to community resources. In this way, we are part of the team that helps a person find ways to deal with their mental health challenges.

What are some of the barriers to people seeking Psych Rehab services?

Insurance can prevent people from seeking Psych Rehab services, as they need funding from Medicaid or a county to participate. Additionally, transportation to programs and in the community can be a barrier (though, we offer mobile services in many areas so that our staff can come directly to the participants).  In some cases, people may simply not be ready to seek help, due to mental health instability or lack of empowerment.

Stigma is also a barrier. Sometimes people may not be ready to admit they have an illness, or they do not want to be associated with mental health services.

If someone reading this or their loved ones are interested in these services, how can they receive them from Skills?

Reach out to Skills on our website, and we will help you get connected to these services! Many people can benefit from Psych Rehab services, and recovery is possible. If you are considering starting Psych Rehab, don’t hesitate to ask questions and find out if this service is right for you.