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Camber Children's Mental Health

Inpatient Mental Health & Residential Treatment: What’s the Difference?

Children and teens experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, aggression, or other symptoms that disrupt their daily functioning might not be able to effectively manage these challenges on their own. Many times, these youth need help from trained professionals and possibly around-the-clock care in either an inpatient mental health or residential treatment center.

During both inpatient and residential mental health treatment, a youth resides at a treatment center while they receive therapeutic services to help them overcome the challenges they are experiencing. Other times, a youth can remain in their home and seek help from professionals in their community, such as a community mental health center or family physician.

If you think your child might need 24/7 support to stabilize and overcome challenges, read below to learn more about what is involved with inpatient mental health and residential treatment.

Take this quick assessment to determine if your child might need professional mental health treatment.

Inpatient Mental Health Treatment

Inpatient treatment center, Camber Wichita

Youth entering inpatient acute mental health treatment are experiencing a mental health emergency, such as severe depression or anxiety, self-harm or suicidal thoughts, extreme anger, or other behaviors that might put their safety or the safety of others at risk. Acute treatment is typically shorter-term care with an average stay of 5 to 7 days. Depending on the child’s unique needs and supports, their stay could be longer or shorter. It is designed to help children stabilize so they may safely return home with the resources and supports in place to live a healthy and happy life in their community.

Residential Mental Health Treatment

Residential treatment center, Camber Kansas City

Youth entering residential treatment are typically experiencing any of the behavioral and mental health challenges listed above. While these youth are not actively experiencing a mental health emergency, they do struggle to maintain progress from acute hospitalizations and community supports. During residential treatment, youth receive intensive clinical services in a structured, home-like environment and the average length of stay is 60 to 90 days. A longer stay is necessary in order to evaluate each youth’s ongoing emotional, psychiatric, or behavioral challenges and help them build the skills they need in order to achieve ongoing success once they return to their community.

Where to Find These Services

If you think your child might need professional mental health services or is in a mental health emergency, you can seek help immediately in the following ways:

  • Speak with your primary care physician or your local community mental health center for a referral to a mental health specialist.
  • Visit your local hospital or emergency department and ask for a consultation.
  • Contact Camber’s Admissions team to learn about our mental health treatment programs for youth ages 6 to 18. Call (913) 890-7468 or keep reading below for more information.

Camber’s Treatment and Services

At Camber, we serve thousands of children and teens each year at our inpatient mental health and residential treatment centers in Kansas and Missouri. Our experienced psychiatric, medical, and behavioral health professionals provide a nurturing and therapeutic experience along with a treatment plan tailored to meet each child’s individual needs.

We use neuroscience-based treatment resources regarding how stress and trauma impact brain development and translate this science into innovative, hands-on tools that guide successful treatment outcomes.

While receiving treatment from Camber, clients receive the following:

  • Full medical, clinical, and nursing assessment
  • Intensive psychiatric care and medication management
  • Individual, family and group therapy sessions
  • Case coordination
  • Innovative treatment and education to teach youth about their brains and how to regulate their emotions

Accredited Alternative Education

While receiving residential treatment at Camber, youth attend our accredited alternative school for children grades K-12 so they can stay on track with their schoolwork. Youth receiving treatment at our Kansas City and Hays, KS locations attend Camber Academy and youth receiving treatment at KVC Niles may attend Niles Prep, Niles’ day treatment program. Niles Prep is also available to local students not in need of residential treatment but who are experiencing difficulties functioning in mainstream classroom settings.

To learn more about Camber’s treatment programs, visit or contact our Admissions team at (913) 890-7468.

Quick Assessment