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What You Need to Know about Community Mental Health in Utah

Community mental health is one of those buzzwords that some health practices like to use in branding their services. In the course of choosing their mental health provider, people may come across this phrase and wonder what precisely it means. The short answer here is that “community” most often equals residents with limited financial means and/or who have issues associated with impoverished neighborhoods. So while there are plenty of exceptions, people living in poverty are most likely to access the services offered by community mental health providers.


Community Mental Health vs. Universal Access

One of the potential misconceptions about community mental health is that it provides universal access. Often, these practices are associated with expanding access because of the vulnerable, underserved, or underprivileged populations they serve. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean they accept every form of financial authorization. Some practices have Medicaid contracts and other agreements with public assistance funds that do not include private insurance coverage. Some practices sit on insurance panels from a different insurance carrier. Likewise, these practices may or may not have a sliding fee scale that make a private-pay arrangement feasible for more Utah households.


Getting Help: Referrals and Emergency Services

It’s nearly impossible for even the largest providers to offer universal access. Even those providers who have the infrastructure to gain contracts with Medicaid, Medicare, and major insurance carriers, as well as independent grants and private-pay arrangements may reach their service capacity or specific contract quotas. In these cases, a referral is typically made that allows the individual to seek services elsewhere.

That said, there is one case in which universal access is available—a mental health emergency. If someone poses an immediate risk of harming themselves or someone else, call 911 or a Utah mental health hotline.


Standardized Mental Health Services

With all this in mind, what can one expect from these types of mental health services? There are no hard-and-fast rules, but overall there is more standardization associated with these services. When a social worker refers someone for a psychological evaluation, there is usually a prescribed number of hours and type of assessment (psychological, neuropsychological) that is authorized. The psychologist, meanwhile, still has discretion and authority over the specific tests and assessment tools that they employ. This standardization process may fail to accurately reflect the varying levels of complexities to individual cases. On the other hand, it’s also a relatively straightforward way to gain financial authorization for those who qualify.


Seeking out Financial Assistance

While we still have a long way to go before achieving universal coverage, it’s arguably easier than ever to get coverage for essential mental health services. Between newly enforced mental health parity rules and an agreement between the federal and Utah government to expand access to low-income households, many residents are gaining coverage to mental health resources for the first time. But more than just general eligibility, residents must apply and enroll in many programs in order to receive benefits. It’s crucial to consider all possible options before concluding that a lack of financial resources is, in fact, a barrier to access. And once services are authorized, don’t wait to get help from a Utah community mental health center or other qualified health providers.



Are there Gender Differences in Utah for Mental Illnesses?

The rates of mental illnesses are different for men and women in Utah, but the size and nature of the difference has a huge amount of uncertainty attached to it. Below, you’ll find an overview of what we do know and how Utah residents can better interpret the circus of information that’s out there. For details and stories closer to home, we recommend you check out the MHAU resource on the treatment of men, women, and mental health in Utah.


Gender Research on the Rates of Mental Illnesses

Even for many of the most basic questions about rates of mental illnesses, there is little consensus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Overall rates of psychiatric disorder are almost identical for men and women but striking gender differences are found in the patterns of mental illness.” The article then goes on to list the most commonly cited facts about specific disorders:

  • Depression is twice as common in women—and more persistent.
  • Alcoholism is more than twice as common in men.
  • Antisocial personality is almost three times as likely in men.

A recent TIME Magazine article directly disputes this claim. By carefully looking at international epidemiological data, researchers concluded that “in any given year total rates of psychological disorder are 20-40% higher in women than men.”

Who’s right? By reading each article closely, it becomes clear that the difference between the two claims isn’t all that big. You know how people can make statistics say anything? Here’s a great example: Easily the most common disorder, depression has an outsized effect on the overall rates of mental illnesses. Dual diagnosis, in which at least two mental disorders are present, can also be counted a couple different ways in this calculation. By looking at the total number of cases, it’s pretty clear that women are somewhat more likely than mean to receive a diagnosis. By instead looking at the overall distribution of gender populations across multiple mental health criteria, it’s easy for the WHO to equivocate.


More Depressing Numbers

The complications don’t stop there. The ways in which conceptualize and classify mental illnesses have a huge impact of their own. In just one example, there is an ongoing debate in the mental health field about how the expression of anger and reckless behavior might fit into the criteria for depressive disorder. Already the DSM-5 has included a new depression category for childhood and adolescent individuals with unusually high anger and irritability. If one includes these characteristics, which disproportionately affect men, the gap between men and women essentially disappears for both depression and mental illness.


Media Representations

Rather than the different claims about the statistical realities, it’s the presentation of both these articles that deserve more scrutiny. The title of TIME title, “It’s Not Just Sexism, Women do Suffer more from Mental Illness,” is out of context to draw more clicks and eyeballs. Moreover, the title provides its own context for condoning and acting out of sexism as in: “See, I’m not being sexist, women really are crazier than men.”

In the context of the article, it’s clear rather that the sexism is not water-cooler conversation, but a subtle—if potentially damaging—form of institutional bias. In this case, the example is the WHO appearing to be afraid of being sexist, or at least overly sensitive to socio-political pressures, by marginalizing the difference in overall numbers of men and women who face a mental illness. In today’s publishing world, titles more often reflect a media marketing strategy than the actual approach taken by the authors. But think about how different the connotation would be if the Time article were instead titled: “WHO ignores Facts about Mental Illness Rates in Men and Women.”

It’s Not Just Sexism, Women Do Suffer More From Mental Illness



How to Use Mental Health Assessment Forms for Better Outcomes in Utah

Mental health assessment forms are important tools for evaluating the level of need for various therapy interventions and other mental health services. As you can learn more about here, there is a long list of mental health test forms that might be used based on the types of symptoms and behaviors that are of concern. But first, you might also consider some of the ways these forms can be used to get better results from mental health services in Utah.


Getting Help: Without knowing exactly where to start, some people suspect that they, or someone they know, is experiencing a mental health issue of some kind. For acute symptoms, a mental status examination is often the most helpful form. Ideally, this information is gathered by a qualified health clinician or emergency response personnel, but an informal checklist can be viewed here. In terms of identifying cognitive impairment, the mini mental state examination is a common tool for evaluating potential signs of dementia, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.

Finally, there are also mental health assessment forms that address non-emergency situations. One good example is this 12-item questionnaire from PsychCentral about whether someone is likely to benefit from therapy services.



Self-Monitoring: With many mental disorders—and mood disorders especially—the duration and variability of mental health symptoms may be crucial diagnostic information. There are a couple of easy ways to help provide this information:

  1. Make a diary that describes the feelings or behaviors that are the cause of concern, along with other potentially important information.
  2. Find a mental health assessment form or mental disorder test that speaks to the symptoms you’ve observed. Answer the questions each day or week and consider what answers, if any, have changed.

Attempting to create an accurate record of the severity and the time/dates of psychological symptoms is one of the ways in which almost any client can contribute to better mental health outcomes. Even in the presence of symptoms that threaten the control individuals typically have over their own behaviors, this is an indirect method to gain some measure of control.


Provider-Issued Forms: This method of self-monitoring is not a replacement for a clinical evaluation and directed therapy interventions. In fact, the best time for self-monitoring may be during the interval between when symptoms are first observed and the date of an appointment with a mental health professional.

As such, it doesn’t hurt to ask a mental health practice what type of self-report diary or assessment form they recommend. Some practices will even have their own customized forms for you to fill out, often times beforehand. Often called an intake form, this information can make the time at a clinician’s office more productive, while also working to create a better fit between client and clinician.


Documentation and Common Reference: Another reason to use mental health assessment forms is that they can provide a common reference for changes to symptoms over time. Documentation should not be a fear but rather a resource that guides future interventions. And this resource may be especially important if you need health services from another provider down the road. This isn’t to say that the most commonly used tests are necessarily the best ones, but this does help explain one of the advantages of standardized forms over diary-style documentation.


Getting Started

If you recognize that a serious mental health issue exists but you’re not sure where to start, don’t hesitate to contact an actual mental health provider, rather than relying on a form or using a questionnaire as an excuse to avoid seeking help.


Mental Health Disparities in Utah

Mental health is a collection of individual behaviors, social and environmental factors, and health provider services that work together to improve behavioral functioning, quality of life, and an overall sense of self-worth. In Utah, this fairly universal definition is quickly muddled by contradictory facts. Studies have shown, for example, that the state has the highest rates of mental illness as well as the highest ranking for happiness.

But maybe these statistics aren’t as contradictory as they first appear. Hypobaric hypoxia is prolonged oxygen deprivation associated with living at higher elevations. The effects may include euphoria and increased moodiness, along with fatigue, headaches, cognitive disruptions, and other symptoms associated with mental illness. Yet, this is largely a mental health difference between Utah and the rest of country. What about inside the state? Here are a few of the factors that create disparate outcomes for Utah residents with a variety of mental disorders.


Geography and Mental Health in Utah

It’s easy to imagine geographic barriers in the counties that are not along the I-15 corridor, and indeed access to health services in rural areas is a big issue in Utah. Yet, many would be surprised by the number of residents in Tooele, Summit, Morgan, and even Utah County who struggle simply to get to and from their health provider appointments.

At the same time, living in one of Utah’s valleys presents its own risk profile. These areas are known for their winter inversions and poor air quality. The three largest cities in Utah (Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo) are all located in valleys which produce the worst air quality in the state. This is significant as air pollution has been linked to autism, suicide, and other mental disorders.


Financial Inequality

A lack of financial resources compounds the problem for individuals and families with minimal access to daily transportation and clean mountain air, but this is far from the only consequence of poverty on mental health in Utah. Whether it’s public assistance, affordable health insurance premiums, and/or private fees for services that are deemed “medically unnecessary,” a certain level of financial resources is a must.

Unfortunately, existing health coverage may act as a deterrent for upward mobility. The working poor may guard against making just enough money to get kicked off public assistance, a situation that would leave household members without access to badly needed health services.

Rising income inequality is also a big source of mental health disparities in Utah. This enables a relatively small portion of the population to inflate the fees for select or extended health services. This is an issue that every state struggles with, and the good news for state residents is that Utah has one of the lowest rates of income inequality overall. We used to be best in the nation, but the latest data has us trending in the wrong direction.


Religious and Cultural Factors

Much like living at higher altitudes, the overall weight and effect of cultural influences is difficult, if not impossible, to measure. There’s little doubt, for example, that the LDS church manages a robust financial assistance program for both its members and generally underprivileged populations. Yet, it’s also true that a complicated heritage has led to many state residents who are generally distrustful of civil authorizes, a distrust that can spill over to the state’s health provider services.

People from other states also underestimate the cross-cultural dynamics that are at play in the state. Several different ethnic groups, religious immigrants, non-religious or “cultural” Mormons, new urbanites, and a strong LGBT community are just a few of the groups that contribute to a culturally diverse population. At the end of the day, we must keep working toward positive mental health outcomes, even as we recognize that perfect parity is unattainable.



Finding Community Mental Health Centers in Utah

In Utah, community mental health centers are primarily focused on improving mental health outcomes for underserved and vulnerable populations. Public health information suggests that these populations are about twice as likely to seek mental health care services. Yet, a lack of financial resources is the most common reason that people give for not accessing services. In other words, the individuals who are most likely to need help from a mental health professional are often the same individuals who struggle to gain access.

Here are some of Utah’s community mental health centers and the ways in which these providers work to increase access:


Medicaid’s Prepaid Mental Health Plans

This is perhaps the easiest and certainly one of the most common ways to access the community mental health centers in Utah. Additional information can be found on the Utah Department of Health Medicaid website, but the primary vendor for the following Utah counties are:


  • Bear River Mental Health: Box Elder, Cache, and Rich Counties
  • Central Utah Counseling Center: Piute, Millard, Juab, Sanpete, Wayne, and Sevier Counties
  • Davis Behavioral Health: Davis County
  • Four Corners Community Behavioral Health: Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties
  • Northeastern Counseling Center: Daggett, Duchesne, San Juan, and Uintah Counties
  • Southwest Behavioral Health Center: Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, and Washington Counties
  • Valley Behavioral Health: Salt Lake (thru Optum Health), Summit, and Tooele Counties
  • Wasatch Mental Health: Utah County
  • Weber Mental Health: Morgan and Weber Counties


Keep in mind, however, that these primary Medicaid vendors are not the only community mental health centers in Utah. Along with crisis intervention, inpatient services, and other urgent care needs, the full range of mental health services authorized through the Utah’s Medicaid Program include: psychological testing and evaluations, individual and group therapy, medication management, educational and rehabilitation services, case management, personal services including transportation, and respite care.


Other Community Mental Health Centers in Utah

This is far from an exhaustive list, but these are major providers of community mental health services in Utah.


General Health Providers: Often, a physician is the health professional an individual will se. Any number of physicians and general health providers may provide basic mental health screenings and referrals as deemed appropriate. Overall, one of the best organizations to fit this niche is the Utah affiliate for the Association of Community Health Centers.


United Way of Utah: Residents who are struggling with mental health issues as they relate to situational stressors, abuse, or financial struggles may not know where to turn. Contacting the United Way is an option for finding help in a variety of trying circumstances. Utah chapters are located in Salt Lake City, Provo, Price, St. George, Ogden, and Logan.


Community Counseling Centers: Community counseling practices serve residents in counties throughout much of the state and shows that mental health services for underserved populations are not relegated simply to substance abuse group therapy and emergency-based psychiatric care.


Substance Abuse Treatment: One of the common reasons to seek services, substance abuse treatment is a staple of community mental health resources. There are many options which offer a range of fully-covered, partially-covered, and private-pay service agreements. The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health offers a convenient tool to conduct a local search.


How can Depression be Treated? Top 6 Resources in Utah

The question how can depression be treated is a common one for Utah residents who are struggling with this agonizing mood disorder. While there is a common symptomology that defines depressive disorders, an individual course of depression is often quite varied. Moreover, for depression that hits hard and fast or a depressive episode that has been left untreated, it may be important to seek out emergency services. First and foremost, depression interventions attempt to ensure that nobody harms themselves or others.

Severity, duration, and features can all lead to different treatment recommendations. Often, it’s also important to take stock of the resources that are available to each individual. At Mountain Mental Health, we recommend developing a personalized treatment plan in collaboration with a qualified mental health professional. But with this in mind, here is an overview of the resources that are commonly used in Utah to treat depression.

  1. Talk Therapy: This is generally one of the best options for treatment in. Not only is this one of the most effective forms of depression therapy overall, but it doesn’t have the negative side effects of antidepressants, electroconvulsive, or transcranial magnetic therapies. It’s important to know how much the therapy will cost, but with new health insurance rules in Utah, more people than ever are finding their out-of-pocket costs are minimal.
  2. Group Therapy & Behavioral Changes: There is a long list of options. It could be a local LDS ward or other church organization. Along with group therapy for depression and mood disorders, there are support groups for grief, addiction, abuse, and many others. Other individuals may instead find that working or volunteering for a community organization provides an innovative method for how depression can be treated. Other behavioral changes—including exercise, posture, and expressive therapies—can also produce a positive effect.
  3. Prescription Antidepressants: Prescribed by a Utah physician, this treatment may be used based on the type and severity of the depressive episode, along with other individual factors. In every case, close monitoring of side effects is crucial. Many Utah residents choose to see a medical doctor because of the stigmatization of mental health services. Others first seek out a primary care physician to get a referral for their health insurance authorization.
  4. Dietary Supplements: The data on whether these types of dietary supplements have any effect is mixed. Even if the biological mechanisms are poorly understood, these supplements can produce an effect by creating an expectation of improvement. Knowing that 5-HTP is the chemical precursor to serotonin or that vitamin D is more difficult for the body to produce in winter may increase this expectation.
  5. Electro-Magnetic Treatments: More advanced treatments focus on disrupting specific areas of the brain that are thought to perpetuate depression. Today’s electroconvulsive therapy uses targeted electrical current with little resemblance to the violent shocks administered decades ago. Transcranial magnetic stimulation works in a similar fashion, albeit with focused magnetic fields.
  6. Environmental Changes: In addition to dedicated therapies, individuals who are struggling with situational depression may also benefit from a change in scenery. Some environments are so toxic that effective coping mechanisms are impractical. How can depression be treated, when an intense stressor continues to exert pressure on the individual? School bullying is one such example, and Utah is far from immune from this phenomenon. Faced with severe bullying and/or a lack of institutional support, many parents find the best solution—sometimes the only solution—is to relocate. There are also several types of residential programs available for those who stand to benefit from a more controlled environment.



How much does a Yoga Class Cost in Utah?

Nationally, the average cost of a yoga class is about $12, and Utah is right in line with that. The Salt Lake and Utah Valleys, in particular, offer affordable prices compared to the rest of the country. It’s pretty easy to find a drop-in class for $12 or less, especially if you have a local ID. In many metropolitan areas, the average cost of a class is now closer to $15-$20.

Now some classes will naturally cost more, sometimes a lot more. Due to the extra costs of maintaining a safe, therapeutic environment, hot yoga classes tend to cost a little more. Meanwhile, private yoga instruction can cost as much as $75-$100+. Still, don’t dismiss the idea prematurely. Some instructors who offer private lessons out of their home can offer rates as low as $25/hour, even though this is the exception and not the rule. Moreover, some studios will offer private lessons at a discounted rate on a temporary basis, especially if this instruction helps you overcome barriers to joining regular studio classes.


How to Reduce the Cost of a Yoga Class

Keep in mind, the $12 average price tag is for a drop-in class at the regular studio price. First-timers can find free, introductory classes. Some studios also offer free promotional classes, either once a week or once a month. Even after these free yoga opportunities have run dry, paying for a standalone class every once in a while can be a great way to make sure you don’t get complacent with your free, in-home yoga habit.

That said, most Utah studios also offer package deals that can reduce the cost of each yoga class. And by finding a deal that makes sense for your immediate budget and commitment level, it doesn’t take much to come out ahead.

Unlimited Pass Cards: These are most often sold in 1-month and 3-month durations. Two quick words of warning here: First, don’t put up a bunch of money until you’re sure a regular yoga habit is right for you. Second, ask yourself if you’re in danger of over-exercising by taking on too many strenuous classes each week. With this in mind, an unlimited pass card can be the ideal solution for someone looking to take their yoga passion to the next level with, say, an alternating schedule of restorative yoga sessions and more active classes. Or maybe your daily meditative yoga class is providing essential benefits in reducing the symptoms of a mental illness.

Class Punch Cards: These are better for people with variable schedules and interests. Due to work and travel, you might take 3 classes a week one month. Then, the next month, you struggle to make it to even one yoga class per week. These punch cards allow you to get sizable discounts on the studio’s classes without the same level of commitment or frequency. Some studios also sell group and family punch cards that can be shared by more than one person. Just be sure you know when your card expires. Often sold in 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month intervals.

Membership and Promotional Discounts: Some studios offer club membership in which an annual fee gives you something like a 20% discount on any classes you attend. Promotional deals for students, veterans, and/or senior citizens are also fairly common. And to reduce crowds and maintain a full schedule of classes, some studios offer discount rates for their lunchtime and late-evening classes.


Get More from Your Yoga Therapy in Utah

Yoga therapy is a catch-all phrase for yoga classes that are taken to achieve therapeutic goals. The term can just as easily be used to discuss the benefits of yoga for recovering from a physical injury, medical procedure, or mental disorder. In fact, the precise cause isn’t always known. For example, yoga can be a great way to improve your gastro-intestinal health, whether your stomach hurts because of a poor diet, anxiety disorder, or some combination of factors.


Yoga as an Adjunct Therapy

This doesn’t mean that yoga therapy is a cure-all. If you suspect you have a serious medical condition, don’t hesitate to talk to a physician. If you suspect you have a serious mental health condition, we strongly urge you to seek the counsel of a qualified mental health therapist. These health professionals can help you understand the underlying cause of your pain and discomfort, as well as make an evaluation of yoga’s potential benefit. When yoga is included as part of a larger treatment plan for a health condition—medical or mental health—it’s often referred to as an adjunct therapy.


Meditation vs. Mindfulness

Here’s a great example of how a mental health therapist can help you get more from your yoga therapy. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you may have noticed that the instructor started ended the session with a meditation, known as savasana. Often, though not always, this meditation is guided by the instructor’s voice. Guided meditation has its own mental health benefits, but the practice of silent mindfulness holds even more promise for many people and their mental health.

Simply put, mindfulness is focusing on the present moment and the non-judgmental observance of one’s conscious thoughts. Talking to a therapist, however, can help improve your practice of mindfulness, while also putting this cognitive therapy in the more personal context of your own mental health troubles. A therapist can also help you evaluate the immediate benefits and long-term potential of yoga therapy for you.

Many yoga studios offer some combination of the two, by including a short guided meditation at the beginning of the savasana, followed by plenty of time to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the studio space. That said, while some people find that the end of yoga is the absolute best time to engage in the practice of mindfulness, others prefer to alternate between a yoga studio session one day and a mindfulness meditation in their own home the next day.


At-Home Yoga vs. Studio-Based Therapy

To get the most out of yoga therapy, you should really find a studio and instructor who you can connect with. That said, this is one of those situations in which a studio class is better than yoga at the house—which is itself a lot better than nothing. And, at home, it’s free. And close. And it works around your schedule. Thus, we recommend getting out to the studio whenever you can, but maintaining a regular yoga habit at home whenever you need. The popularity of this mix-and-match strategy also helps explain why there’s such a heavy incentive for studios to market unlimited monthly passes and punch card discounts. This can make studio yoga more affordable, while making it harder to accommodate scheduling uncertainty.


Preventative and Proactive Yoga Therapy

From chronic back pain to mood disorders, many symptoms can be strictly controlled or prevented altogether by maintaining a healthy yoga habit. Further, you can proactively build up your psychological resilience for any stress or trauma you may face down the road. Likewise, many people who effectively treat their mental health troubles end up drifting away from the practice, only to experience a relapse of symptoms.

Now, not everybody needs to see a mental health therapist before signing up for classes. Not all yoga is yoga therapy, but if you are looking to yoga to help with your psychological distress, you’re going to get the most of classes by consulting with a mental health therapist.


Does Yoga Work as a Mental Health Treatment?

The short answer is yes, yoga works as a mental health treatment. The mix of meditation and slow-movement calisthenics create a positive impact for many people who struggle with mental illness, as well as those who are looking to build up their natural, psychological resilience. In fact, one of the most impressive things about the practice is its ability to provide at least some improvement and symptom relief for almost any mental disorder in the book.

Now, it’s not a miracle cure. All the sun salutations in the world may not help someone who refuses to talk to a therapist about the negative thoughts and behaviors that are occurring in other aspects of their life. Moreover, yoga isn’t going to make someone’s schizophrenia go away, and it’s not going to suddenly make someone smarter. On the other hand, yoga has been used effectively to reduce psychotic symptoms. It’s also an increasingly common part of treatment plans for autistic children—in large part because a calmer mind has been linked to increased learning and cognitive development.

Generally speaking, mood disorders provide the most natural fit for a treatment plan that includes yoga. The calming effects of yogic meditation often have a direct impact on one’s depressed, manic, or anxious mood. Trauma and latent anxieties also tend to respond well to this type of yogic meditation, albeit under the guidance of a mental health therapist.


The Potential to Help and to Harm

Few mental health treatments are without risk, and yoga is no exception. As widespread as the benefits can be, there are practices and approaches that can do more harm than good. We’re not just talking about straining a muscle or hyper-extending a joint, either.

Eating disorders provide one of the clearest examples of the ways in which yoga may help or harm one’s mental health. A restorative, mindfulness-based session can help nurture a positive body image and calm the fears that one has about gaining weight. An almost daily habit of aggressive power yoga may instead serve as a rationalization for over-exercise that exacerbates the physical toll of the eating disorder.


Personal and Cultural Approaches to Yoga in Utah

Yoga is not a religion. You don’t have to convert to yogism, or anything like that. And while you may have already known this, it’s important to remember, whether you suddenly find yourself doubting the integrity of your own faith or feeling the persecution of those who mistakenly believe that yoga is in some way spiritually dangerous. Moreover, it doesn’t even have to be a particularly social activity. For quite a few people, yoga’s value is entirely about reducing the symptoms of their mental illness. And it’s something they can be done in solitude or with a close friend.

There’s also something to be said for not letting physical limitations stand in your way. Now, we’re not trying to gloss over the reality. Decreased mobility may mean limited opportunities to achieve yogic poses, but there’s also been a huge increase in the development of modified poses. Many types of physical disabilities may be easily overcome.


More Tips & Info

If you’re struggling with a mental disorder, we strongly urge you to talk to a licensed mental health therapist to develop a personalized therapy program. That said, aside from wearing comfortable clothing that doesn’t grab at your skin, there’s no great trick or preparation that’s needed to start a yoga habit. Eat light and bring a water bottle in case you get thirsty. The studio should have the equipment you need.

With this in mind, the following information provides tips and research for yoga’s potential to specific mental disorders—

Depression and Anxiety

Bipolar Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Personal Trauma

Borderline Personality

Substance Addiction

Traumatic Brain Injury

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Sleep Disturbance

Eating Disorders





Find Equine Therapy Programs in Utah

In Utah, many equine therapy programs are geared toward residential drug rehab treatment, but there are some locations that serve people, especially youth, with other mental health troubles. Several facilities also offer outpatient equine therapy. And apart from dedicated equine therapy programs, some people may be to achieve similar benefits from equestrian centers, especially when used in tandem with more traditional therapy services and office settings. The National Ability Center in Park City, for example, is one of Utah’s premier equestrian centers and offers several resources that are used to improve mental health.


List of Equine Therapy Programs in Utah

Hoofbeats to Healing: This program has two locations, one in Saratoga Springs and one in Bountiful. Rather than feeding and grooming, this center emphasizes therapeutic horseback riding. The program favors Missouri Fox Trotters for their horses. Commonly treated mental health issues include trauma, attachment disorder, mood disorders, and developmental delays.

Courage Reins: Located in Highland, Utah, this facility offers a full range of equine therapy programs including therapeutic riding, hippotherapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, and equine-assisted learning. Due to the extra cost, about the only thing they don’t do is take on seriously injured horses.

Shadow Mountain Equine Psychotherapy: Located at the Keystone Equestrian Horse Park in Bluffdale. Offers adolescent, adult, and family therapy with a focus on trauma and eating disorders. Grooming and exercising the horse are standard with each therapy session. Mounting and saddlery may be included as the situation warrants.

Discovery Ranch: This is a residential and academic treatment program in Mapleton, Utah for teenage boys who are experiencing any number of mental health troubles. Comprehensive treatment is offered, but the equine therapy is highlighted. Each student completes 3-4 months of working with a horse, while some students also work on advanced horsemanship that includes basic instruction in western riding, trail riding, and colt training.

Falcon Ridge Ranch: A residential and academic program for teenage girls with any number of mental health troubles. Equine assisted psychotherapy is at the heart of the Falcon Ridge treatment plan, along with the natural beauty of its Virgin, Utah location. Each young woman learns to earn the trust of and bond with one of the ranch’s horses.

Lion’s Gate Recovery: This is a comprehensive drug addiction program for adults. Based in St. George, this facility offers immediate intervention and detox, comprehensive rehab, and continuing care services. More than just basic grooming, many residents participate in an in-depth equine program that may include raising a young colt from infancy to adulthood.

Life Skills Recovery Ranch: This ranch takes the 12-step approach to drug rehab and incorporates the routine and skills of a working ranch. Along with rehab, the ranch also offers people the opportunity to develop a number of occupational skills. Located in Holden, Utah, Double Dollar Livestock hosts the ranch location.

Silver Spur Therapeutic Riding Center: In lieu of equine-assisted mental health therapy, Silver Spur focuses on therapeutic riding for autism, developmental delays, and physical disabilities. Located in New Harmony, the center offers therapeutic riding for 6-8 week blocks between April and November.

Ascend Recovery: Located in American Fork, this recovery center offers drug rehab with a specialization in dual diagnosis in which drug addiction co-exists with trauma or other mental health troubles. Equine therapy is only one of several therapy opportunities that includes art, music, pottery, and a ropes course.

Bridge Recovery Center: Located at the Coral Springs Resort on the outskirts of Hurricane Utah, this center is focused on treating chronic pain, both physical and psychological pain. Compared to other equine therapy programs, the Bridge Recovery Center is known for the unique experience of bonding with a wild mustang.

Utah Addiction Centers: Located in Eagle Mountain, this center offers treatment for drug addiction, sex addiction, and eating disorders, along with dual-diagnosis treatment for people whose addiction is associated with another mental illness. Equine therapy emphasizes learning how to play with and exercise the horse.

Sorenson’s Ranch: Offers a therapeutic equine program as part of a larger boarding school and residential therapy program for adolescent boys and girls. It’s also a working ranch located in Koosharem that includes a comprehensive treatment plan for a wide range of troubled teens.

Mt. Pleasant Academy: This is a small academic and residential treatment center for adolescent boys. This facility focuses exclusively on sexual misconduct and other sex-related issues, as well as porn and digital addictions. Along with education and conventional therapy services, equine therapy is the main treatment program offered at Mt. Pleasant Academy.

Cold Creek Behavioral Health: This treatment provider specializes in drug addiction and offers a wide range of individualized therapies, including both 12-step and non-12-step programs. Equine therapy is frequently included as part of the treatment and is offered to both residents and outpatient clients. Multiple locations include Kaysville, Brighton, and Salt Lake City.

Cirque Lodge: A comprehensive alcohol and drug rehab program. There is a studio location in Orem, but the companion Lodge facility in Sundance offers equine therapy and other experiential therapies built around some of the best landscape that Provo Canyon has to offer.

Diamond Ranch Academy: This is an academic and residential treatment center in Hurricane for teenage boys and girls. The facilities are separated into six distinct centers—two for girls and four for boys—ranging from 12-18+ years old. Diamond Ranch offers equine therapy as part of a larger treatment plan that also includes Character Curriculum, the academy’s own collection of workbooks.

Angel’s Recovery: Alcohol and drug rehab center that also caters to specific populations that include college students, LGBTQIA individuals, and executives and other professionals who continue to work during treatment. Along with equine therapy, this treatment center offers golf, music, and art therapy.