Tuesday, May 2, 2023
CMO Message: Mental Health
One of the biggest misconceptions around mental health is that it only matters if you have mental “illness.” Poor mental health does not start at a diagnosis. By the time people talk to their healthcare providers about mental health, they are usually already in crisis and have suffered for far too long before getting help.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” Mental health is not black or white, meaning that you either have a mental health condition or you don't, and good mental health is not defined by the absence of having a diagnosis.
We all have the opportunity to improve our mental well-being, regardless of having a diagnosed condition. Checking in with ourselves regularly and small daily activities such as practicing mindfulness, finding time to decompress, getting enough sleep, engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and spending quality time with family and friends all support our emotional health. When those aren’t enough or if you’ve experienced a traumatic event, it’s imperative to seek professional help as soon as possible. You never have to heal alone.
Although mental well-being is something we should prioritize every day, many people don’t. Awareness, stigma, cultural barriers, busy lifestyles, and everyday challenges often get in the way. However, it’s important to recognize that good mental health isn’t automatic. Just like cardiovascular health, it’s something that needs regular attention and strengthening over time. What will you do today to help yourself feel your best?
- Why is mental health important for overall health?
Good mental health affects every aspect of a person’s life. It is critical for physical health, thinking and decision-making, maintaining positive relationships, and productivity.
- How can I take care of my mental health on a daily basis?
Everyone has the opportunity to improve their mental well-being, regardless of having a diagnosed condition. Taking care of your mental health involves engaging in activities that promote well-being, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation or mindfulness techniques, and socializing.
- How do I know if I need to seek professional help for my mental health?
Signs that it is time to seek professional help include difficulty functioning at work or school, changes in appetite or sleep, increased substance use, and thoughts of self-harm. If you’ve ever experienced a traumatic event, it’s important to get professional support as early as possible.
- What resources do I have at UnitedAg to support my mental health and well-being?
Lifestyle coaching through our Health & Wellness centers, Teladoc’s mental health services, and Teladoc’s MyStrength program are available to support your mental well-being. If you need additional support, please call our Member Services team and we will help you find the care you need.
- Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA