What is mental health?
If you have sound mental health, you can balance the difficulties you face with appropriate coping skills to help you get through difficult situations. Keeping yourself in a positive mental state does not just happen and stays that way. It is essential for you to take care of yourself, not just physically but mentally.
It is always a good idea to:
  • Get the correct amount of sleep
  • Stay on a healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Get proper medical care when you need it
  • Make sure you are a part of healthy, caring friendships and relationships
What does it mean for you if you have a mental illness?
Mental illnesses can cause mild to severe disruptions in behavior, feeling, and thinking. The disturbances can significantly diminish a person’s ability to cope with life’s routines and demands. Similar to physical illness, mental illness varies in severity as well as type.
Is it possible to treat mental illness successfully?
In many cases, yes, mental health can be successfully treated. You can learn to improve and cope with proper treatment and care. Some people even feel they make a full recovery with treatment and support. There have also recently been tremendous advancements in treatments for clinical depression and schizophrenia.
What types of mental illness are the most common?
The most prevalent kinds of mental illness are anxiety disorder. There are three categories of mental illness. They are:
  • Panic Disorders
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
What are the causes of mental illness?
There are a variety of mental disorders that are caused by direct links to biological origin. Other mental illnesses are caused by psychological or emotional reactions to social or environmental situations. At times the diseases are only temporary and are caused by the person going through extreme life changes or stress. Others develop and do not go away but can still be treated and managed if approached correctly. The treatments used for mental illness vary depending on the type and severity, but some of the treatments used for various illnesses include:
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Social Supports
What is clinical depression?
Clinical depression is defined as having intense thoughts or feelings of despair and sadness that last for an extended period of more than a few weeks and cause an interruption in daily routine and life overall. The person will need to work with a professional for psychotherapy sessions and/or start taking medication to help with the process. The faster clinical depression is identified, the quicker the treatment will be effective, as with most illnesses.
How can I help myself progress if I am being treated for mental illness?
If you are currently being treated for mental illness, first, good for you! It is a massive step to taking control of your mental health. As you go through your treatment, make sure you:
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Form a bond with your mental health care provider
  • Join a support group
  • Take care of yourself by exercising and eating healthy
  • Follow your treatment as prescribed
Is it possible for stress to cause mental illness?
Suppose you are constantly in stressful situations but don’t know how to cope with the stress healthily, then yes. In that case, stress can cause some types of mental illness such as behavioral and emotional disorders that will possibly affect your vitality, health, professional and personal relationships, as well as your overall peace of mind. An estimation shows that 75-90% of visits to primary care doctors are related to stress.
How can I find help for mental illness if I need it?
Finding help is an essential first step to getting the treatment you need! Start by contacting your primary physician to make sure nothing is underlying that may be causing you to feel like you have a mental illness. If the doctor does not find anything physically wrong, they will most likely recommend a mental health specialist you can speak to about how you are feeling, such as a:
  • Social Worker
  • Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
Will my health insurance cover treatment for mental health issues?
You need to check with your insurance provider because all insurance policies vary, but in most cases, HMOs and private insurance plans have mental health benefits of some kind. It is unfortunate in many cases that psychological and physical illnesses are not always covered equally for treatments. Ensure you contact your insurance provider directly to see what your plan covers for your mental health needs.
What do I need to look for when comparing my physical health benefits to my mental health benefits?
There are three main areas in most insurance policies where physical and mental health have significant disparities are they are:
  • Discriminatory copayments lifting affordability of care
  • Arbitrary limits on outpatient and inpatient visits
  • Low annual and lifetime caps on people who have mental illnesses
Unfortunately, these limits set by the insurance companies often do not have enough coverage for those who need long-term care and treatment.
Are there any states that have made changes to close the gap between physical and mental health coverage?
Yes. Five states have passed parity legislation saying that private insurance companies cannot discriminate on health care benefits. These states include:
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
Out of the five states, Minnesota and Maryland have the best measures because they apply to all emotional and mental disorders, including disorders in children.
Is there any way I can improve my mental health insurance coverage?
The best way to get your state to join the five other states who have made these changes is to write to your state senator about your thoughts and concerns. Request that they support parity for mental illness by endorsing or drafting legislation to end the discrimination against mental health coverage.