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Where to Start

Learning more about the types of mental health care that is available to you is a great place to start when beginning your healing journey.

Self-Advocacy: Discussing Concerns about Treatment

Many people describe feeling reluctant, anxious, or even afraid to voice questions or concerns about their treatment. Mental health treatment is most effective when everyone works together as a team. In fact, most clinicians welcome feedback about how treatment is going.

Understanding Levels of Care in Mental Health Treatment

Looking for mental health treatment can feel overwhelming. To make this process easier, it can help to understand the different levels of care. The phrase “level of care” describes the range of services provided from least to most supportive. This is like physical health: sometimes you just need a routine check-up (least intense support) and other times you may need to stay in the hospital for your care (most intense support).


Outpatient Mental Health Care

Outpatient care includes a range of therapy services like individual counseling, family and couples counseling, and group therapy. It also includes nutritional counseling and medication management. This is the lowest intensity level of care (e.g., appointments are once every 1-4 weeks). This level of care is best for addressing stable, mild-to-moderate needs.


Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) center on group therapy. This type of care is recommended for managing moderate to severe symptoms. Most IOP programs offer 60+ hours of therapy over 8–12-weeks, which helps to support faster skill building than the pace of traditional therapy. IOP is a helpful option for those who need more support than 1-hour per week, while still having the flexibility to work full-time or attend school.


Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)


Hospitalization Program

PHP is meant to prevent the need for hospitalization by providing focused treatment. Although it is called partial hospitalization, people participating in this level of care do not stay overnight at a hospital. Instead, they attend care 5 days a week for several hours each day while still maintaining work, school, and social/family connections. Treatment usually includes group therapy and medication management. This option is often considered for teens because it balances a high level of support with the ability to remain engaged in important developmental activities at school and home.

Hospitalization provides immediate safety and access to medical services. The purpose of this type of care is to help when someone is suicidal or experiencing severe symptoms that disrupt their ability to take care of themselves. Hospital treatment settings are monitored by medical staff around the clock. Often, people will stay 3 -7 days to receive a high level of support from healthcare providers.


Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs) offer comprehensive care over a period of weeks to months. People who need this level of care live at the facility during treatment so their healthcare needs can be the focus every day. RTCs offer a community-like environment that is professionally monitored. Treatment often includes individual and family therapy, group therapy, and medication services. Educational activities are provided for those of school-age. This level of care is often recommended when people develop severe symptoms or when treatment at lower levels of care has not been successful.

Understanding the Types of Mental Health Providers

Mental Health Providers have certain job titles and specialty areas that can vary from state to state. The overview below includes brief descriptions of what you can expect from each mental health professional. Finding the right care team is easier when you understand the differences in the types of mental health professionals that are available to support you in your healing journey.

Psychiatrists & Psychiatric Mental
Health Nurse Practitioners

These clinicians focus on the use of medication to help people to manage a range of mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety.


Psychologists have doctoral degrees and their training focuses deeply on science and theory.  Psychologists work in both clinical and academic or research settings. 

Counselors or Therapists

In Arizona, there are different types of clinicians who provide counseling or therapy.  


There are some differences in how they are trained but they can all be licensed to provide mental health therapy.  


They are: 

-Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)

-Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)

-Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)


Social Workers


Some social workers provide traditional therapy as described above. Others focus on helping people to find the resources they need, described here.

Substance Use Counselors


In Arizona, some clinicians are trained and licensed to focus on treatment for substance use. 

Primary Care Doctor

Primary care providers can help with a range of mental health needs. 

Insurance Benefits & Superbills

Mental Health Matters Arizona provides resource options for a variety of insurance plans.

Insurance plans are different for everyone. Visit your insurance provider's website or call directly to learn your specific plan's benefits for mental health services.  Many treatment providers can also help with this process.

What is a Superbill?

A Superbill is a document that your clinician can provide.  It includes the information needed for you to submit a claim for possible reimbursement. When you have the Superbill from your service provider, contact your insurance company for instructions on how to submit your own claims.

​There can be advantages to working with an out-of-network provider.  These include increased privacy, your choice in provider and type of care, and more control over the type and length of care.

Good Faith Estimate

Per current law, health care providers must give an estimate of the costs of services to clients who are not using insurance.

For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit

Find Mental Health Resources

Click below to find mental health resources available to you in Arizona!

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