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Senior Behavioral Health Unit FAQs

What is mental health treatment?
Mental health issues can range from depression and anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. That’s why the Senior Behavioral Health Unit’s (SBHU) treatment is a customized program of counseling and therapy, individually tailored to the specific needs of older adults with mental or emotional disorders—helping them live independently and enjoy a high quality of life.

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Is SBHU located in Sanford Bemidji Medical Center?
No, the Senior Behavioral Health Unit is a department of the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center offering senior psychiatric services, but it is located at Sanford Bemidji Lakeside Campus, the old nursing home. We are on the 3rd floor at 800 Bemidji Avenue North.

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What range of services does SBHU offer?
We offer a full range of mental health services, including psychiatric counseling and intensive inpatient rehabilitation, for older adults with serious mental illness.

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How long does mental health treatment usually last?
Mental health treatment at SBHU is short term, usually two weeks, and is tailored to the unique needs of individual. While admittance into our program is voluntary and everyone has the right to discontinue treatment at any time, we encourage individuals to consult with their trusted SBHU counselors about completing treatment.

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Does SBHU offer services for young adults or children?
SBHU provides therapy services for the Medicare population, older adults 65 years of age and more. 

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What does treatment involve?
At SBHU, we use recognized therapies that work, tailored to the unique needs of each individual. Treatment includes a free confidential evaluation, and may involve a mix of individual, family, and group therapies.

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Isn’t my father’s behavior just a sign that he’s getting older?
Often, confusion, disorientation, depression, paranoid behavior, and other mental and emotional problems of senior adults have been blamed on getting old. Therefore, many senior adults have not been diagnosed and treated for their mental health disturbances. The truth is that there are numerous medical and psychological factors that can produce these types of problems.

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Do I have to pay for a consultation?
No, SBHU offers free initial phone consultation. Contact us if you would like more information.

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How can families and friends make a difference in the life of someone needing treatment?
Supporting a friend or loved one during mental health treatment can be challenging. It requires patience, understanding, and a non-judgmental attitude, but also allows you to offer your support in a variety of ways. Be sure to care for your own physical and emotional health during this period, as recovery can be a very trying time for all involved.

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How can I get my mother into the Senior Behavioral Health Unit?
Referrals are accepted from physicians, hospitals, residential facilities, clergy, local agencies, human resource organizations, the community, and family. Self-referrals are also welcome.

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My husband has Alzheimer’s disease and I can’t care for him at home any longer. May I refer him to SBHU?

Referrals are accepted for short-term stays, but not long term living.

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Is mental health treatment worth its financial cost?
Yes. The benefits of leading a healthy, independent life after successful mental heath treatment is priceless and can last a lifetime.

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Does Medicare cover treatment at SBHU?
Yes, Medicare replacement policies help pay for inpatient mental health services at our facility.

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Does SBHU prescribe medication?
Yes. Our medical staff and counselors evaluate medication needs necessary to serve each person.

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Can I come to SBHU for medications only?

No. SBHU is an inpatient psychiatric facility.  We believe your primary care physician is the best resource for addressing specific medication needs. Once you are admitted and prior to your release, our medical staff will work with your physician to determine an appropriate recommendation for you.

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Will I get better?
Yes. Treatment is generally effective in helping people solve the problems they seek help for, and our experience is that most people benefit from our services.

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What if the client is resistant to treatment?
We understand treatment isn’t always easy. That’s why we recommend family and friends form a support network to help the person receiving treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)  is an excellent resource for families of people with mental illness.

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SBHU FAQs