Mental Health Needs? Health Insurance Has You Covered

Sometimes you may feel blue.  Sometimes the mood lifts and sometimes it just lingers on and on.  You might try talking with a friend, going for a walk. But it seems that no matter what you do, the blues continue.  At these times, you might feel that no one understands or worse, that no one cares.  You may feel that you are all alone.  

If you are feeling hopeless or you are with someone who is feeling suicidal, call 911, go to the Emergency Room or go to a Psychiatric Emergency Room immediately. Additional resources that are available 24/7: nationally, call  1-800-273-TALK (8255), text Hello to 741741, or in Washtenaw County, call 734-544-3050.

Under the current health care system, mental health is part of the essential health benefits that all health insurance must cover.  If you currently have insurance, you have a mental health benefit of at least 20 visits per year.  With this benefit, you can see a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or therapist as long as they are part of your health care network.  

As of October 1, 2017, Michigan Medicaid lifted the 20 visit cap on Mental Health visits.  You are now able to see any provider that accepts Medicaid or a Medicaid Health Plan for as long as needed.  An official notice is here  

Mental Health Affects Physical Health 

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions.  Some people have chronic mental health conditions, but many people may have temporary conditions that are treatable and preventable.  

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Depression is a sad or blue mood that lasts for more than two weeks and affects a person's ability to work, carry out usual daily activities and have meaningful personal relationships. Symptoms of depression that need treatment include at least two of the following; lack of energy and tiredness, unusually sad mood, loss of enjoyment and interest in activities, sleeping difficulties, concentration and decision making problems, feeling worthless or guilty, thinking about death or dying, loss of interest in food or eating too much.  Depression is treatable.

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Anxiety can vary from mild uneasiness to a terrifying panic attack.  Treatment is necessary if a person becomes unable to work, carry out usual daily activities and have meaningful relationships. Symptoms can be:

  • physical - pounding heart, sweating, stomach pain, shaking
  • psychological - mind racing, irritability, sleep disturbances
  • behavioral - situation avoidance, phobic behavior, obsessive or compulsive behavior

Anxiety is treatable.

Suicide is on the rise.  At any time if anyone is feeling hopeless or talking of suicide, call 911.  Washtenaw County officers have special training for mental health emergencies.  Tell the 911 operator that your emergency is mental health related and they will send trained officers.  

Here are some good tips, if someone you are close to is feeling suicidal.

HOW CAN YOU GET HELP?  HERE ARE 4 OPTIONS:

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  1. Make an appointment with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or regular doctor. Your regular doctor can prescribe anti-depressants, talk about lifestyle choices and refer you for further treatment.  Many PCPs now use a depression or mental screening questionnaire that helps determine next steps.
  2. Search for psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists or counselors that accept your insurance.  You may find that information on the insurer's website or by calling them and asking for nearby therapists.  For Medicaid health plans, contact your Medicaid health plan.  The number is on the back of your card or search your provider's website.  
  3. Find a support group.  Some support groups are free. If there is a cost, you may want to check with your insurer to make sure you are seeing someone in your network. 
  4. Find a counselor or community agency.  If you don't have insurance but need attention, there are resources for counseling and help.  Community Mental Health has a crisis team that can be reached by calling 734-544-3050.  

Everyone needs help at some point in their life.  Talk to your doctor and get help. 

If you need help with health insurance, contact the Washtenaw Health Plan.  Call 734-544-3030 or walk-in to our offices at 555 Towner, Ypsilanti, Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm.  

Resources:

Washtenaw Community Mental Health Call Access at 734-544-3050 or 1-800-440-7548 for crisis service, support or information.  Available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.  

Washtenaw ALIVE Resource List from Suicide Prevention Coalition

Depression Toolkit from University of Michigan Depression Center

National NAMI  and Michigan NAMI

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