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Choosing the Right Mental Health Facility

Professional guidance for comparing residential treatment programs.

1. Introduction: Making the Best Match

You seek a residential treatment community that will give an adult with mental illness a brighter future. But the task you face is a complex endeavor – with high stakes. How do you use our Directory to find the best fit between person and program, a fit that can turn a life around?

The ARTA Directory of Residential Treatment Programs lists more than 30 long-term mental health facilities and links you to each treatment program’s website for detailed information.  All ARTA residential programs meet specific criteria for membership, and each one has been operating for a minimum of two years.

To help you make the best choice of residential treatment program, we’ve created this guide to the program selection process. The guide has been created for people who are not mental health professionals, and who need help understanding the differences between programs and how those differences will affect the course of psychiatric treatment.

On this page, the mental health professionals of ARTA walk you through the process. You will find answers to the following questions and more:

  • What is the goal of the treatment facility selection process?

  • When is the “right” time to consider a mental health treatment facility?

  • How long should someone keep trying on their own to improve their mental health?

  • What type of residential treatment community should I choose?

  • How important is a residential treatment center’s geographic location?

  • What physical attributes and psychiatric services should I be looking for?

  • I’ve heard that a certain residential treatment community is “the best.” Should I put that treatment center at the top of my list?

  • How important is the composition of the treatment center’s peer community?

  • To what extent should the person with mental illness be involved in the search and the decision?


Just follow the steps on this page, and you’ll be on your way to choosing a residential mental health facility.

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