BATON ROUGE, La. – In addition to being an unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected mental health, with record numbers of people reporting anxiety, stress and depression.
In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, four in 10 U.S. adults reported struggling with anxiety or depression, which is an increase from the one in 10 U.S. adults reporting similar conditions in 2019. And, many people have reported the COVID-19 pandemic led to issues that have affected their well-being. These include trouble sleeping, abusing alcohol or drugs, eating too much or too little and having physical health issues from ongoing stress.
May is Mental Health Month, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds everyone that it’s important to check in on how you’re feeling and ask for help if you need it.
“The past year has been unlike any other, and it’s normal and understandable to feel sadder, more worried or more fearful than you did before 2020,” said Dr. Jeremy Wigginton, Blue Cross interim vice president of Population Health and Quality Transformation. “Not only are people anxious about COVID-19, many are dealing with unemployment or they’ve lost loved ones. It’s important to be aware of how you are feeling. And if you’re struggling to get through your daily activities or becoming overwhelmed, tell someone. You are not in this alone, and there are people who can help you.”
Your healthcare provider is your partner in staying on top of your mental health, Wigginton added. “Just like it’s important to check your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers at your annual wellness visit, it’s important to check your overall well-being,” Wigginton said. “Tell your provider how you are feeling and how well you think you’re handling things. If you’re having depression or anxiety, bring it up in that visit. Your provider can recommend treatment options, help you find resources or prescribe medication if needed.”
Blue Cross has several programs and services to help members stay well and get help for their mental health needs.
Be STRONGER THAN EVER with Blue Cross’ Care Team
Blue Cross has an in-house care team of nurses, dietitians, pharmacists and social workers who support members dealing with long-term health needs, serious illnesses or acute injuries. They offer health coaching, personalized education and support to help members be STRONGER THAN any situation or diagnosis.
Blue Cross health coaches work with members to find social service community organizations and resources close to them, connect with behavioral health providers in their network or build up skills to be resilient in difficult health or life situations.
To learn more about Care Management programs and services or to sign up for health coaching, visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger. Members do not pay anything to work with a health coach.
“Motivated Mindset” Facebook Live Series Airing Monthly
Social worker Avis Brown, one of Blue Cross’ health coaches, hosts a monthly Facebook Live broadcast to share her tips for being stronger than stress, keeping up with self-care and taking time for mindfulness and relaxation. Brown answers viewers’ questions during the live events as time permits.
Brown’s monthly events are broadcast live from Blue Cross’ Facebook page. Check the Facebook page to see dates for upcoming sessions or to watch recordings of past events.
Behavioral Health Providers Available on BlueCare
You can use BlueCare, Blue Cross’ telehealth platform, to have online visits with behavioral health providers. BlueCare behavioral health appointments can be a good service if you are looking for ways of getting care from the comfort and privacy of your home, or if you do not live close to a behavioral health provider. BlueCare is available in all 50 states and works on any device with internet and a camera, like a smartphone, laptop, tablet or computer.
Log into BlueCare to schedule appointments with available psychology or psychiatry providers who are trained and certified in telehealth care. Behavioral health providers available through BlueCare can help with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, substance abuse, coping with life transitions, couples counseling and more. You can also use BlueCare 24/7 to treat routine, non-emergency medical conditions like colds, bladder infections, allergies, pink eye, mild stomach bugs or rashes.
Create a BlueCare account at www.BlueCareLA.com or with the BlueCare (one word) mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Then, simply log in and have a medical visit anytime or schedule a behavioral health appointment.
“Many healthcare providers and insurers expanded online visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, so check into your options,” Wigginton said. “And, if you have a behavioral health provider you go to, ask if telehealth visits are an option. Online visits make it easier to check in when you need to.”
Blue Cross shares tips for protecting your mental health during COVID-19 in this video (:30). You can visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube page to see short videos with the clinical team and others discussing various health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can also connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 and 2020 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.