Getting the mental health care you need

Encouraging tips to get past the stigma and get the mental health care you need
Sep 4, 2018 ·
Friends in group improving their well-being through hugs, sharing, and close relationships

Staying mentally healthy is important to your overall well-being. Yet many people let the stigma keep them from getting the care they need. In fact, the fear of discrimination and prejudice surrounding mental illness can be as disabling as the illness itself. When you have a mental health issue, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Mental health problems are extremely common, yet 70% of people around the world who suffer from mental illness do not get treated because they fear a real or imagined stigma associated with their condition.

Talk to the right people

Close relationships are good for your overall health. Feeling as if you can’t talk to anyone about your problems will only make you feel more alone and hopeless at a time when you need help the most. 

  • Your doctor: A good first step is to let your regular doctor know how you’re feeling so you can be referred to a mental health professional who can help. 
     
  • Close family and friends: It’s very important to let those closest to you know what you’re going through. It will be good for you – and your relationships – if the people you trust understand the challenges you’re facing. 
Work can help

If you’re going through something difficult, you may lose your desire to work or look for a job. But many people with mental health conditions can and do work. And sticking to a work routine can give you a sense of purpose and improve your mental health in the long run. In fact, studies show that 6 out of 10 people struggling with mental health issues can succeed at work if they have the right kind of support. 

If you are currently working, find out if your employer offers any mental health resources. Many companies and organizations offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that can provide free, confidential mental health counseling, referrals, and follow-up services for employees and their families.

If you’re not currently employed, look into local job services, including job-skills training sessions and on-the-job training programs. State health and welfare offices can also help you find work.

Get treatment for any substance abuse

Using and abusing drugs or alcohol can sometimes go along with having mental health problems. This will only make matters worse and prevent your recovery, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting treatment right away.

Know your rights

No matter what you’re going through, people with mental health problems have the same rights as other citizens. Your condition will not affect your right to vote or take part in any legal agreements such as marriage, divorce, and business contracts. California has a bill of rights for people with mental health problems. Also look into the federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) to understand your rights. 

Be heart healthy

Don’t skip your regular checkup appointments, because there’s a real link between your heart and your head. In fact, people at risk for heart problems with conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol are also at greater risk for dementia.

Getting the care you need for a mental health issue is just as important as going to the doctor for any physical medical problem. The stigma surrounding mental health is slowly being overcome through awareness, education, and communication. But unfortunately, stigma does still sometimes exist. Don’t let it prevent you from getting the help you need.

To help you make meaningful, manageable changes to your lifestyle, Blue Shield offers a suite of total health programs called Wellvolution®, which you can enroll in at no additional cost. These programs offer lifestyle-based approaches to health. For example, the Walkadoo® program to keep your body moving, Diabetes Prevention Program to help you lose weight, and QuitNet® to help you quit smoking. 

You can also take advantage of the many discounts our plans offer – on fitness equipment, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, vitamins, and supplements.

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