Mental Health: Will insurance help?

Mental health has been on my mind a lot lately. It has been a stressful week at work. Extended hours in addition to some unforeseen hiccups have left me coming home exhausted. Thankfully I work four ten-hour shifts so I can use Fridays as my “buffer day”– a day where I can get things done when the house is quiet, or just do something that is for me. It is my weekly mental health day. Do not get me wrong– I do not get to spend the whole day reading books in the bubble bath, but it is nice to have one day to sleep in and not be on constant go, which allows me to get other things done that I normally do not get to do.

My friend’s mom (who is a psychologist) would always tell me about the importance of mental health. Your mental acuity is just as important as your physical. They affect each other strongly and are often correlated. When my mind is overwhelmed, my body starts to break down as well, and that is when I get sick. So it is important to take time for yourself. If it is not a day, then take one hour a day to do something you like to unwind.

One way I like to unwind is read celebrity ‘news’. Mental health is often a big topic as each celebrity on the verge of a mental breakdown is photographed at each moment of their mental descent. Disney darling Demi Levato recently finished a stint in rehab to cure her mental affects of an eating disorder. And now beloved actress Catherine Zeta Jones has recently entered treatment for bipolar disorder.

Mental disorders are often misunderstood and get a bad rap. Unlike physical injuries, mental disorders cannot be seen. They are hidden and often keep their victims imprisoned. This makes it very difficult for someone to understand someone who has a mental disorder. Physical pain is relateable, but emotional is hard if you have not experienced it. Those who have not had a mental disorder (varying from bipolar to multiple personalities to depression), often think the one with the disorder is faking or making it up.

This stigma has trickled into the insurance world. It is not to the extreme as not believing in mental disorders, but most insurance companies do not rate mental health on the same priority level as physical health.

Mental health tends to be more costly than physical ones. Health insurance plans, especially those with low income health insurance, will find they will get little or no health insurance coverage for mental health costs. Even if you are lucky enough to get one that will, some restrictions may apply.

So if you health insurance won’t pay, what do you do? Like I said, your mental health is just as important as your physical health so you should not discount it. Many local clinics will offer free or discounted classes to help with mental health, or offer resources to get you on the right track.