Living with a Mental Health Condition

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Living with a Mental Health Condition

You are Not Alone

Living with a mental health condition can be overwhelming, but it is more common than you may think. Maybe you’re having symptoms due to concerns over COVID-19, a change in jobs, or other life changes. There are many tools you can use to manage your symptoms and help you feel like yourself again. 


Treatment often includes regular medicine and therapy. Taking medicine to manage a mental health condition can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re taking more than one. You may be experiencing uncomfortable side effects, or the medicine doesn’t seem to be working right away. Remember that side effects are normal and usually go away after a few days. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience serious side effects or have side effects for more than a week. Some medicines may take several weeks to take effect.

Below are more guidelines to consider:

·       Take as prescribed. Be sure to get clear instructions from your doctor on how often and how much of your medicine to take. Try to take your medicine at the same time every day and try not to miss a dose. Don’t stop or change your dose without speaking to your doctor first.

·       Plan ahead so you don’t run out. If you get your medicine each month at a local pharmacy, get your refill at least two or three days before you run out. If you get 90-day supplies, order refills at least two weeks ahead. You can also keep track of your refill days on a calendar and keep it where you’ll see it often.

·       When traveling, always keep your medicine with you. Plan accordingly to make sure you have enough medicine throughout your trip. If you can, pack extra medicine to help get you through unexpected delays or changes.

·       Remember the brand and generic names of your medicines. Keeping track of the different medicines you take is important to ensure you’re getting the care you need. For example, Prozac is the brand name of the well-known antidepressant, but it is commonly sold under the generic name fluoxetine. If you notice a change in the name, size, color, or shape of a medicine when it’s refilled, check with the pharmacist to make sure it’s the equivalent of the medicine you were taking before.

·       Be careful taking your medicine with other substances. The medicine you’re taking may make you sensitive to light, alcohol, or other over-the-counter medicines. Always check with your doctor before taking any additional medicines.

·       Never share your medicine. While it may be tempting to share your medicine with friends or family with similar symptoms or concerns, doing so may be unsafe. Your medicine has been prescribed specifically for you and could have a different effect on someone else, even if they have the same diagnosis

Regular therapy, along with medicine, is often crucial to effectively manage a mental health condition. Be sure to think about your goals. They can be specific, like managing time better at work or eating healthier, or more general, like improving your relationship with your loved ones. You can have as many goals as you want, but it may be helpful to start small and build habits that will stick.

Here are additional tips:

·       Do your research. You can use our find a doctor tool to find a mental health professional or call us at 888-447-2526 (TTY: 711). If the mental health professional has a website, review their specializations, such as ADHD or bipolar. Before making an appointment, contact the specialist you want to see first to confirm they accept EmblemHealth insurance.

·       Remember that a therapist will not ‘fix’ you or tell you what to do. Pressuring the therapist to fix you or tell you what to do can lead to feelings of hopelessness and frustration. Instead, remember that your therapist is there to help you use your own unique tools, like journaling or meditation, to help your progress.

·       Prepare for sessions. Write down any questions or topics you want to focus on during your next appointment.

·       Stop if you feel uncomfortable or threatened. As you begin to discuss the most personal aspects of your life and behavior, it’s normal to feel sad or even angry after a session. After all, some situations and emotions are not easy to discuss. At the same time, your therapy space should be a safe one. If you feel disrespected, harassed, or bullied, find a new therapist right away.

Depending on the severity, some mental health conditions may require hospitalization to be treated and stabilized. If you stay overnight, be sure to see a mental health professional within one week or less. Your treatment professional will help you continue a care plan that is right for you.

Drug and alcohol use disorders are “one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country” according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It’s important to recognize the signs and get help for this complex behavioral health issue. If you are an EmblemHealth member, your behavioral health benefits are provided through our partner, Carelon Behavioral Health (formerly Beacon Health Options). To find a provider, go online or call 888-447-2526 (TTY: 711). 

Visit our website for more information about getting help and support here.