Top tips for mental health

How meditation and an introduction of the latest tech can help you manage your well-being

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Almost one in five American adults live with a mental illness, up to 51.5 million people in 2019.1 Not only can mental care be costly and time-consuming, it can be difficult to find available treatment. In the US, 55 percent of counties do not have a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker within its borders, and 70 percent do not have a single child psychiatrist2.

But some simple techniques combined with an adoption of treatment through tech can help to solve those limitations. Here are three ways to incorporate good mental health tips and effective care into your daily life, no matter your geographical access or cost limitations:

Meditation and breathing techniques

Pairing up with a therapist through one of many new online or wearable programs

Talking to your employer

Take a breath: Overcome simple stressors with these relaxation techniques

Harvard Medical School suggests six techniques to incorporate into your daily routine in order to maintain a sense of well-being, calm, and focus.3 By invoking relaxation, these techniques overpower and calm down your body’s natural stress response. Creating a daily practice, even for a few minutes a day – while waiting in the Starbucks drive-through line, or while on hold with your doctor – creates a skill that, in time, you will be able to turn on as needed.

Dr. Ellen Contente, DSS, MA, RSCP, NSA and Founder of Heart-Centered Programs will lead you through the first two techniques, Breath Focus and Body Scan, in this clip from Guardian’s webinar, Mental Health in Uncertain Times: Strategies to manage stress, anxiety and fear.

Try a simple meditation technique from Dr. Contente:

Digital tech solutions that make mental health treatment easier than ever

It’s a lesson in irony to realize that while tech may be the root cause of mental wellness challenges4, in many instances it may also act as the solution.

Access to smart, licensed therapists who can screen you for an actual mental disorder and act as your consistent support system is easy to find virtually now – and can take up a lot less time out of your week. For instance, mental wellness solutions like Spring Health offer networks of providers that work to eliminate typical barriers to care like appointment wait times and accessibility.

Talk to your employer

Payroll company Paychex surveyed 1,000 workers in 2020, who shared that only one in five employees discussed their mental health with their manager, and just 5 percent with their HR supervisor5.

If your mental health is taking a toll on your work, it’s OK to bring up mental health struggles with your manager in a one-on-one video chat, especially if you approach the conversation with candid honesty. Your manager could be experiencing the same feelings or has a loved one struggling with similar mental health issues. Really, the only way your manager will know how you are feeling is by talking to each other.

Understand the laws concerning mental illness in the workplace

If you advocate for yourself in the workplace by asking for a raise or time off, then discussing your mental health needs is no different. But if this makes you uncomfortable, or you do not have a trusting relationship with your manager, there are ways to tailor your work life that do not require you to disclose your diagnoses.

  1. First, if your employment circumstances and health condition render you eligible for leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or state law equivalent, make sure you obtain the appropriate paperwork from your health provider and certify it through the appropriate channels with your employer so that you can take legally protected absences when you need to. Your employer is legally required to protect your private health information.
  2. If you work for a company with 15 or more employees, your employer is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). If your condition qualifies as an ADA-protected disability, the company is required by law to provide reasonable accommodations if you ask for them so that you can perform the essential functions of your job. Ask your HR department how to access this information.
  3. Some companies offer mental health services, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides a limited number of complimentary therapy sessions.

While it can seem easier said than done to manage your mental health, there are so many techniques and resources available that you shouldn’t feel alone or ill-equipped. Take a breath, and reach out.

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