The economy impacts community mental health clinics pretty directly. If the economy isn’t doing well, then less funding is being put towards these facilities. When there is an absence of optimal funding, the clinics are not able to provide the quality of services necessary for their community. In addition, due to lack of funding clinics could be shut down completely, making the resources scarce for the community members who are struggling. This leads to more difficulty finding treatment centers that are practical (location wise), and decreases the likelihood that these struggling individuals are going to seek help. If an economy is thriving, on the other hand, these clinics are well funded and have the ample resources necessary for providing treatment.
One factor that is impacted by the frequency of contact between clinicians and their patients is the quality of the therapeutic relationship. Like friends/coworkers/etc… you may have, the more you see someone the more you get to know them and trust them. In order for a therapeutic relationship to be successful, the patient must trust their counselor so that they feel comfortable opening up to them and can get the most out of their treatment. Also, the better the clinician knows his/her client the more able they will be to pick up on subtle behavior changes, red flags, and indications that something is wrong. Another factor that is impacted is the consistency and quality of the treatment itself. The more regularly and frequently a client and therapist meet, the more consistent and accountable it makes the client feel. It also allows for the patient to be able to discuss new stressors as they come up, which can be helpful as it could decrease the likelihood of the problem becoming larger/more stressful. In addition, being able to discuss frequently an issue/trauma that has impacted the client for a long time allows for the patient to process their feelings and hopefully recover sooner rather than later.
One challenge that clinicians can experience by working in community mental health clinics is creating a foundation for the long-term success of their client. The average length of stay in state mental hospitals, for example, is usually less than 8 days (Gladding & Newsome, p. 355). In that time period, it is a clinician’s job to stabilize and then release their patient, but unfortunately that is not enough time to do so in many cases. Many patients are admitted, stabilized, released, and then readmitted due to an unsuccessful discharge. What that means is that the person was not able to get the stable foundation they needed upon release to stick to their discharge treatment plan. Another struggle that these clinicians face is the ability to form a relationship and really get to know their client. Working in a behavioral health hospital myself, I have talked with therapists who comment on not being able to meet with their patient enough due to the number of patients they are assigned combined with the lack of time they are allotted to meet with each of them before they are to be discharged. This does not allow for the therapist to really get to the root of the patient’s problems, in many cases, which also can lead to a failed discharge.