According to the National Association of Mental Illness, 20% of adults in the US experience some type of mental illness. Still, over half (approximately 57%) don’t seek treatment. Why is that? For some, perhaps it’s because of the stigma frequently attached to mental health treatment. For others, it might be that life is too busy, and it seems impossible to find the time to talk to a counselor. There is also the issue of therapist availability, especially after the pandemic led to an unprecedented surge in demand for therapists. Nevertheless, there are options available that can help even the busiest and most private of us get the support we need.

Here are four tips to help you fit health care for your mind into your weekly routine.

Ask About Telehealth

With the advent of secure online video conferencing, telehealth has become a widely available offering, which has increased therapist availability while also making it more convenient. Also known as online therapy, web therapy, phone therapy, and telepsychology, telehealth is a convenient way to meet with your therapist without having to leave your home or office. If you’re comfortable with online communication, it can make fitting therapy into your schedule more manageable. If privacy is a concern for you, telehealth may be an especially appealing option. Many, but not all, health insurance providers will pay for telehealth services. If you are planning to use your insurance to pay for your therapy visits, be sure to review your insurance plan or talk to your provider.
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Consider Evenings and Weekends

If you would rather stay with face-to-face sessions (you’re not alone!) and breaking away from your weekday obligations is too complicated, many therapists and counselors will see clients outside of regular work hours. Be sure to talk to your therapist about their availability during off-hours, like evenings and weekends. Keep in mind, however, that if you are only interested in working with therapist who has years of experience under their belts, you may be less likely to find one with evening and weekend availability.

Use Sick Leave, Paid Time Off (PTO), or Vacation

Most employers provide sick leave, PTO, or paid vacation, and you can use all three for preventive medical care. Be aware, however, that no U.S. law requires businesses to provide those benefits. Because there are no federal guidelines, employers are free to create their own rules for usage, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your organization’s policies. If you use your sick leave, be ready for questions from your boss; they have the right to ask, but also know that the information you provide can be general and brief.

Learn About the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

If you’re unfamiliar with it, the FMLA is a federal law that allows you to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work for family or medical reasons. Additionally, the FMLA lets you continue using your existing health insurance and guarantees “job protection,” which means that if you take FMLA leave, you don’t run the risk of losing your job. Because it is unpaid, most people will use FMLA leave when treatment exhausts the paid benefits provided by their employer. This may be your best option if you require a more intensive mental health treatment, such as an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) or Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).

Some rules and restrictions come along with the FMLA, so you will need to do some research to make sure that you qualify and that your employer is covered by it. All employers covered under the FMLA are required to display the FMLA poster, but if you are uncertain, talk to your HR department. There is also comprehensive information available at the Department of Labor website.

We Hope This Helps!

Managing your health care can be overwhelming, so we hope these tips are useful. If you feel like you need the support of a mental health professional, don’t become one of the many who never get help. You’re not alone!

If you have any questions, please contact us, we want to help!
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