Your Mental Health During These Trying Times

If you are suffering from stress, depression, anxiety, or other mental health emotions due to the pandemic, you are not alone. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed mental health challenges associated with morbidity and mortality caused by the disease, and mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing. They found symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April – June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.

Mental Health America (MHA) conducted a screening on over 1.5 million people from January to September 2020 and found that the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. In September 2020, the rate of moderate to severe anxiety peaked, with over 8 in 10 people who took an anxiety screen scoring with moderate to severe symptoms.

Aggregate data* pulled from our telehealth provider, MDLive, month over month shows that 6 of the top 10 most frequent consultation diagnoses are related to behavioral health, with generalized anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood, and major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate being the top 3 most frequent behavioral health diagnoses. Sixty-five percent of the virtual visits conducted between September 2020 and January 2021 were behavioral health related.

Your A&M System benefits package includes a variety of behavioral health resources to help you when you need them:

ComPsych GuidanceResources

ComPsych GuidanceResources offers in-person and telephonic counseling services, training, and resources to help employees deal with all kinds of stressful issues such as parenting, COVID-19, the death of a loved one, and conflicts at work.

To navigate to the stress-related resources, login into guidanceresources.com using your registered ID and select “Wellness” from the navigation menu. You can learn about resilience, depression, youth depression management, coping, and more. Currently, they have a mental health toolkit specifically for these topics. There is also a section on the website dedicated to COVID-19 resources. You can access GuidanceResources from your MyEvive account, if registered.

Contact ComPsych GuidanceResources with the information below:

Website: http://www.guidanceresources.com
WEBID: Contact your Human Resources Office for the WebID to register for the first time.
Phone Numbers:

  • Active Employees – 1-866-301-9623
  • Retirees – 1-833-306-0105
  • Qatar – 00800.100.071

2nd.MD

Available to employees, retirees and their enrolled dependents on the A&M Care, 65 Plus and J plans, 2nd.MD offers medical second opinions and consultations with specialists via video or phone conference at no cost to you. From the moment you reach out, 2nd.MD’s Care Team will be by your side to offer the support you need. A consultation with 2nd.MD, a medical second opinion service, might include discussion of your diagnosis, answering your questions, and connecting you with elite psychologists and psychiatrists who are leading experts in their fields. You have the option to schedule a face-to-face consultation via video or phone from the safety and privacy of your home.

Common behavioral health topics with 2nd.MD include:

• Emotional and mental support related to depression, anxiety, and stress
• Surgery canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 / Availability of alternative treatment options
• Concerned about the impact COVID-19 could have on your treatments and recovery
• Seeking information about existing conditions that could put your health at risk

Connect with the Care Team by calling: 1.866.841.2575. You can also go to 2nd.MD/tamus. 2nd.MD is available to covered employees and retirees in the A&M Care Plan, 65 Plus, and J plans.

Well onTarget Self-Management Programs

Well onTarget is a health and wellness resource provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas through your Blue Access for Members (BAM) account. It is available to covered employees and retirees in the A&M Care Plan, 65 Plus, and J plans. Log into BAM and click “Well onTarget” under the quick links to find self-instructed courses on a variety of wellness topics such as stress, nutrition, and improving your sleep. Work with a wellness coach, or earn Blue Points for completing healthy activities. Completing a self-management program may also count as credit towards your Two-Step Wellness Program checklist, if you are eligible for the program.

MDLive Virtual Visits

Virtual Visits is a feature provided by MDLive through your Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) medical plan. It is available to covered employees and retirees in the A&M Care Plan, 65 Plus, and J plans. Graduate student employees in the Grad plan may use this service for a $35 copay. You can schedule visits with doctors and therapists via telephone, online video or mobile app. This alternative to in-person appointments provides health care for simple, non-emergency medical and behavioral health conditions 24/7/365 for only a $10 copay.

MDLIVE’s board-certified psychiatrists can help with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma & PTSD, panic disorders, and more.

Download the MDLive app or go online to https://mdlive.com/bcbstx and activate your account. You just need your BCBSTX member ID card with you when you register.

*Aggregate data is personally de-identifiable data compiled into a data summary for the purposes of public reporting or statistical analysis, subject to HIPAA.
Source: https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america 

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Holidays

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Holidays

During the holiday season, the healthcare industry sees an uptick in mental health inquiries. Researchers believe this is due to a variety of stressors such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Over-commercialization of holiday times
  • Financial Stress
  • Inability to be with one’s family and friends

With a global pandemic still looming, many families are opting to pass on gatherings this year. This can increase feelings of loneliness and depression. Reducing, eliminating, or finding creative ways to deal with holiday-specific demands on your time, energy, and emotions is important and working with a therapist or accessing other resources on coping with depression may help.

Your A&M System benefits include mental health resources if you are ever in need of them. ComPsych GuidanceResources provides guidance on work/life balance topics such as financial stress, mental health, marriage and family relationships, grief counseling, and more. They prepared a Healthy Holidays toolkit to help you stay cheery through the holiday season.

Go to Guidanceresources.com and register under your institution or agency listing. Use code ‘TAMUS’. They suggest these coping tips to help manage your feelings of depression during and after the holidays:

  1. Talk to a professional. If the blues you are feeling linger for several weeks and are interfering with your ability to enjoy life and function effectively, seek help. A therapist can assist you in exploring your feelings. You can talk to a behavioral health specialist on MDLIVE as well!
  2. Find support in others. Try confiding in trusted family members and friends about how you have been feeling. Be honest with others about what you are experiencing instead of covering up your emotions. An understanding loved one can give you the strength and support you need to help cope with depressive feelings.
  3. Manage your stress. Learn effective ways to reduce your stress and anxiety, which may minimize your feelings of depression.
  4. Exercise regularly. Regular fitness activities can improve your mood and boost your self-esteem. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Because a lack of sunlight may be contributing to your depression, exercise outdoors for a double benefit.
  5. Eat right. Discipline yourself not to overeat. Avoid junk foods and environments that may encourage binging. Stick to a nutritionally balanced diet. Avoid alcohol, which is a depressant.
  6. Get the proper amount of sleep. Experts recommend at least seven to eight hours a night. Resist the urge to oversleep, and try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
  7. Make more time for recreational, fun activities. Try to spend more time outdoors, especially on sunny days.
  8. Be more social. Stay in touch with friends and family.
  9. Consider using a light box. These devices have been used successfully to treat seasonal affective disorder. Talk with your doctor or therapist about whether the increased amount of light could be helpful to you.
  10. Educate yourself. Learn all you can about depression, support groups in your area and ways to manage your feelings.

 

Resources: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – www.nimh.nih.gov;National Institutes of Health (NIH) – http://health.nih.gov; Mental Health America- www.nmha.org; Guidanceresources.com.

Your Wellbeing Matters

Your Wellbeing Matters

Your Wellbeing Matters

A recent Gallup study of 7,500 employees found that 23% reported feeling burnt out at work very often, while an additional 44% reported feeling burnt out sometimes. No one is immune from burn-out and it can cause prolonged loss of motivation, moodiness, mental and physical fatigue, and more. The A&M System’s new Work/Life Solutions program, Guidance Resources, aims to not only address burn-out and stress management but offers solutions on a variety of topics to optimize work-life balance. All benefit-eligible employees have access to these resources. A quick overview of the Guidance Resources website topics:

  • Wellness
  • Relationships
  • Work & Education
  • Financial Assistance
  • Legal Issues
  • Lifestyles
  • Home & Auto
  • Working Abroad
  • On Demand Training
  • Discounts

Register online by going to guidanceresources.com and entering the WEB ID: TAMUS, or call a Guidance Resources consultant at 1-866-301-9612. A&M System Retirees should call 833-306-0105 to use this service.