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 one in eight workers has been diagnosed with depression, and major depressive disorder is the primary cause of disability for people who are 15 to 44 years old.3 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. While this can’t be done in person, video chat sessions can help to keep you connected. People who meet with friends and family at least three times a week are the least likely to report depressive symptoms.8
- Keep an eye on how much time you spend online or with a mobile device. Although it’s tempting during quarantine, regular, late night computer use is associated with sleep disorders, stress, and depressive symptoms.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
What can you do if you find that you’re suffering from depression during this pandemic? 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. Many doctors and therapists are offering video visits or phone calls during the quarantine period – check with your health insurance company for details or look for reputable services online.
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.
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.