According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): “Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, daily functioning and ability to relate to others. Mental illness doesn’t develop because of a person’s character or intelligence. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, a mental illness is a disorder of the brain that can make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. (Emphasis supplied.) No one is to blame—not the person and not the family.

“Currently, there are no blood tests or tissue samples that can definitively diagnose mental illnesses. Diagnoses are based on clinical observations of behavior in the person and reports from those close to the person. Symptoms vary from one person to another, and each person responds differently, which complicates getting an accurate diagnosis. The most common mental illness diagnoses include depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, but there are many others. Regardless of the diagnosis, symptoms can be similar and can overlap, especially in times of crisis.”  (NAMI, “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis”, 2018, Page 3 – Accessed from Navigating-A-Mental-Health-Crisis (

In recognition of mental illness being a disorder of the brain, New Horizons CHS utilizes an integrated medical model to treat its clients. The model starts with each client being provided a “medical status” examination, which includes (a) a physical health Evaluation and Management assessment of a new patient, typically denoted by CPT 99205; and (b) a psychiatric diagnostic assessment (including ASAM criteria) typically denoted by CPT 90791 or CPT 90792.  Based on the foregoing, a plan of care is developed for each client based on their individualized needs.

The physical health assessment may require referral and transportation for the services of a primary care or other specialty physicians, as may be needed, provided onsite via telehealth or offsite via transportation to outpatient clinics; and further transportation to diagnostic radiology or lab services as may be needed.

The psychiatric diagnostic assessment results in a plan of care that includes individual and group counseling, peer support services, medication therapy, recreation therapy, vocational counseling, and various other therapies.

The length of stay of the client will depend on the severity of the existential crisis, the pace at which the client is able to absorb the services provided and modify their behavior, and the availability of post-discharge options.