Best practices for self-help and managing your mental health

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Mental health is the trending headline of the past couple of years, both in homes and in the workplace. Emotional health has been brought to the forefront for many organizations. While about two-thirds of working Americans say their emotional health stayed the same over the past 12 months, 21% of people in the US (or more than 52 million) are living with a mental health condition – an increase of 1.5 million individuals since 2019.1 Whatever the cause, mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can grow debilitating if left untreated.

The primary cause of disability

Depression is a major problem that results in acute emotional distress. Symptoms range from feelings of guilt and hopelessness to changes in eating and sleeping patterns.2 What you might not know is that depression is the fastest growing cause of disability claims among working adults3; as a percent of total disability claims, mental health-related claims have doubled in the past decade from 7% to 14%.4

Best practices for self-help

There also are many things you can do to help your mood. Though, these practices should be a complement, rather than a replacement, to professional help.

  • Regular exercise can help ease depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can increase your sense of well-being.5
  • Meditation also helps ease the symptoms of depression.6
  • Spend time in the great outdoors if social distancing allows for it: People who walk for 90 minutes in a natural area show decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with depression.7
  • Another mood booster: visits with family and friends. Depressive symptoms are associated with social isolation, so meet face-to-face or over a video chat session to help you feel connected.8
  • Keep an eye on how much time you spend online or with a mobile device. Looking at screens for several hours per day can worsen a person’s mood, and makes it more likely for them to experience moderate to severe depression.9

Protecting your health and income

Fortunately, some disability insurance policies offer coverage for mental or substance abuse disorders with no limitation on coverage for the duration of benefits. This coverage can apply not only to depression, but also to other mental health conditions like anxiety or alcohol and drug addiction. These policies may be available through your employer or purchased independently through a representative. When finding the right policies, be sure to ask specifically if mental health is covered. If covered, this allows for a portion of your income to be replaced while you are disabled and being treated for a mental or substance abuse disorder.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for support

If you’re employed, an EAP may be available at work. Typically, EAPs provide employees and their family members with confidential and personal support on a wide variety of important topics to help encourage their well-being, including one-on-one counseling. While these programs are typically limited to full-time employees, if you’re one of the growing number of part-time workers in the U.S., you also may have access to them: Nearly half of firms with over 1,000 employees provide benefits for their part-time workforce.10

Getting help

What can you do if you find that you’re suffering from depression? Many resources are available to the public, including hotlines run by national organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 800-950-6264, or Mental Health America, 800-273-TALK, to name two examples.  The offerings your employer provides may be more plentiful and more varied than you expect, so do some quick research to discover the well-being initiatives offered by your employer.

Certainly, if you or someone you care about, may be exhibiting symptoms, it’s best to seek the help of a medical professional. By taking the right steps, you can do a lot to take care of your mind and body.

Contact us

If you’d like some help understanding what type of coverage makes sense for you and applying for a policy, get in touch with a financial representative who can help you make a decision.


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Disclaimer

1. State of Mental Health in America Report, Mental Health America (MHA), 2020

2. WebMD, 2021, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression#1

3. 10th Annual Workplace Benefits Study, Guardian, Mind, Body, and Wallet: Workforce well-being in a pandemic era

4. Guardian internal disability claims analysis, 2021

5, 6, 7 Everyday Health, 2021, https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx

8. Scientific Reports, 2020, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-58297-9

9. Healthline, 2020 https://www.healthline.com/health/the-mental-health-effects-of-being-constantly-online#Screen-time-and-depression

10. 4th Annual Workplace Benefits Study, Guardian, Part-Time Nation

Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice.

 

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2022-137430  20240530