New mental health clinic offers a “Transition” from inpatient to outpatient care


SARASOTA- Leaving the controlled environment of the hospital after a behavioral health stay, and going directly back to the stressors of everyday life can sometimes be too much for patients. The new “Transitions” program at Doctor’s Hospital is designed to help patients leaving inpatient care.

Working through a mental health crisis takes a lot of hard work, and progress can start to unravel when patients return home.

“When you go home, you’re kind of stuck in limbo,” Kim Nielsen said. “And you still need additional support.”

Kim Nielsen has been a patient at Serenity Place a few times over the years, and Medical Director of the Serenity Program Vladimir Einisman says it’s common for patients to have a hard time going back home.

“A lot of time the patient is anxious in order to rejoin the full functions,” Einisman said.

That’s where Transitions comes in to act as a bridge from inpatient to outpatient care. Patients will come for a few hours each day for group and individual therapy. Director of Behavioral Health Michael Fitzgerald says it will allow patients to build on their personal growth.

“To learn those skills they need to learn, but to do it in a real time basis, on a daily basis,” Fitzgerald said. “So if anything is a problem, they can bring that problem back to the program the next day. And begin to learn a little bit more about how to utilize that, how to cope and things of that nature.”

Fitzgerald says it will give patients a chance to see how coping mechanisms they teach work at home.

“Begin to solidify them in how they are going to use them in their everyday life,” Fitzgerald said. “Things like communication, conflict resolution.”

Kim Nielsen says group therapy sessions will allow her to connect with people going through the same things she is.

“To be able to build up trust with people and go in there,” Nielsen said. “And be able to talk about something that you might not be able to talk about at an outside meeting or something.”

Nielsen says she and other patients will also benefit by continuing to see doctors and staff they’re familiar with.

“I’m so happy that it’s happening,” Nielsen said. “Because so many people have asked about that.”

Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance companies will cover the outpatient program. For more information visit

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Samantha Sonner
Multimedia Journalist Samantha Sonner comes to the Suncoast from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she worked as a reporter and host for KRWG TV/FM reporting on local politics, immigration, and border issues. Samantha grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she worked at WAER, the campus NPR station and interned at television stations in Central New York. Samantha is excited for the Florida Sunshine, and to be living so close to fantastic beaches. Feel free to follow her on Facebook and Twitter for story updates and news, or to send her story tips and ideas. You can also email her at


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