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Setting Goals for Mental Health Patients

PUBLISHED ON: 02.19.2024
Mental health care, psychological problems, therapy and treatment, professional medical support

Setting goals is a cornerstone of managing and overcoming mental health issues. For individuals facing mental health challenges, the practice of identifying, pursuing, and achieving goals can provide a structured framework for personal growth and recovery.

The role of mental health professionals, alongside supportive technologies like PIMSY EHR, is indispensable in crafting an environment conducive to positive change. Through a collaborative effort, patients are guided to set realistic and meaningful goals, thereby enhancing their mental well-being and paving the way for a fulfilling life.

PIMSY EHR is an industry-leading software for mental and behavioral health professionals. Trusted by thousands of mental health providers, our mission is to develop powerful tools and resources that not only help manage mental health problems efficiently but also inspire patients to believe in their ability to achieve their goals. 

Importance of Goal Setting for Mental Health Patients

For those facing mental health issues, the process of forming and pursuing meaningful goals can be a significant source of motivation and direction.

Having a clear and attainable objective can offer a sense of purpose and stimulate a positive outlook. One result of mental illness can be a lack of focus or direction; having set goals to work towards can counter this and provide a motivating structure to daily activities. For instance, a patient struggling with an anxiety disorder might set a goal to dedicate a few minutes each day to a calming activity, like meditation or deep breathing. Regular engagement in such activities, spurred by goal-setting, can gradually reduce symptoms and improve overall mental health.

Goal setting can be an effective approach to combating mental health disorders because it empowers the patient. It places them in the driver’s seat of their progress, reinforcing the belief that they can shape their healing journey.

In this process, mental health professionals play an integral part by molding a positive and encouraging environment. They assess the strengths, needs, abilities, and preferences (SNAP) of the patient and accordingly, guide them in setting attainable and meaningful goals.

Steps to Setting Goals for Mental Health Patients

Goal-setting in mental health improves efficiency and outcomes by breaking the process down into achievable stages. Here’s the typical path we recommend:

steps to setting goals for mental health patients infographic

Initial Assessment Session

This first meeting between the patient and mental health professional sets the groundwork. During this assessment, the patient’s mental health challenges are identified and discussed. The professional strives for a deeper understanding by asking questions and ensuring an open and honest conversation. The purpose of the initial evaluation is to identify any issues the patient may be experiencing, diagnose those issues (if applicable), and make recommendations for the treatment.

Formulating an Appropriate Treatment Plan

Based on the treatment recommendations from the assessment, a treatment plan is designed by the mental health professional in collaboration with the patient. This plan should incorporate realistic and achievable goals centered on a SNAP assessment (Strengths, Needs, Abilities, and Preferences.)

Setting Achievable Goals

The role of setting the actual mental health goals follows the treatment plan. Goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, following the SMART goals framework. For example, a patient dealing with substance use might have a goal of attending a certain number of group meetings each week.

Monitoring Progress and Reassessment

Based on the treatment outlined in the plan, sessions with the patient will take place regularly. During each session, progress will be monitored and celebrated. If there are any roadblocks, collaborative discussion can help in finding alternative strategies or readjusting goals.

The process may seem daunting at first for some patients, but with the right help, it doesn’t need to be. PIMSY EHR stands alongside mental health providers and patients alike to streamline this process.

PIMSY EHR’s Support in Mental Health Goal Setting

To support mental health professionals in this crucial endeavor, PIMSY has or can integrate with unique tools and functionalities to help streamline and enhance the process.

Facilitating Assessments

Regardless of the type(s) of assessment you prefer to use, PIMSY enables accurate tracking and reporting of all details and results. 

Assisting in Setting Treatment Plans

Once the mental health professionals have assessed a patient’s state and set a diagnosis, PIMSY EHR’s platform facilitates the creation of a comprehensive treatment plan. Our customizable features ensure that the treatment plans are reflective of each patient’s individual needs and recommended treatment, focusing on measurable and realistic goals.

Patient Progress Tracking (Outcome Measures)

An essential part of goal attainment is monitoring progress consistently. With PIMSY EHR system’s outcome measures, mental health professionals can keep abreast of clients’ progress, manage interventions if necessary, and celebrate achievements when they occur.

Examples of Goals for Mental Health Patients

Here are some real-life applications that can serve as starting places for your patient’s goal-setting process.

Goals for Patient’s Battling Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder

  • Commit to practicing a relaxation strategy such as deep breathing or mindfulness for 10 minutes daily.
  • Gradually expose oneself to a fear-inducing situation. For instance, if social events trigger anxiety, aim to attend at least one social gathering each month.
  • Aim to increase physical health by incorporating moderate exercise into your weekly routine.

Goals for Patient’s Addressing Substance Use Disorder

  • Attend a specific number of support group meetings per week or month.
  • Abstain from substance use for a period, gradually increasing it over time.
  • Commit to a new hobby or activity that serves as a positive distraction from substance use.
  • Develop a contingency plan to handle triggers or situations that may lead to substance abuse relapse.

Goals for Patient’s Enhancing Positive Changes in Daily Activities

  • Limit the amount of daily screen time on social media or television.
  • Incorporate a healthy diet and ensure to include at least one fruit or vegetable with each meal. Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Establish and maintain healthy boundaries in relationships, which may mean saying “no” to something each week or setting aside time for self-care.


By integrating our advanced technology with a professional’s expertise, we aim to simplify and enrich mental health care’s crucial aspects. PIMSY EHR, with its smart, detailed, and easy-to-use tools, can elevate every individual’s journey towards better mental wellness. We make goal setting not just an effective but a truly empowering process, emphasizing the positive change it can induce in patient’s lives.

PIMSY serves as a powerful tool in this process, simplifying the task and enhancing the chances of success. With comprehensive features including diagnostic tools, treatment plan customization, libraries, and progress monitoring capabilities, PIMSY EHR is with mental health professionals and patients every step of the way. 

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Jayne Kay
Author: Jayne Kay

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