NEW YORK, NY – According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, one in three adult New Yorkers reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. To help address growing mental health challenges and promote healthier outcomes, EmblemHealth, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health insurers, hosted an educational virtual webinar titled Mental Well-being for New Yorkers on May 18.
New York City Council Member Linda Lee, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction; and Health and Human Services Regional Director Dr. Dara Kass provided opening remarks at the webinar and shared their latest initiatives to make mental health services more accessible to New Yorkers. Sarah Downs, Director of Health Programming and Delivery at WellSpark, moderated the discussion with a panel of mental health awareness champions from various backgrounds—Dr. Kelly McGuire, Medical Director of Psychiatry at EmblemHealth; Terri Rhymes-Lowery, Regional Manager at EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care; and Matt Kudish, Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC).
Panelists provided an overview of mental health conditions, discussion on coping and supporting loved ones, and actionable tips that can be used to help improve mental well-being. The webinar concluded with an audience Q&A session.
Elise Cusimano, Health Coach Educator from EmblemHealth’s City of New York’s (CNY) HMO Gold plan, kicked off the discussion with a five-minute centering practice. WellSpark Health teamed up with EmblemHealth in 2019 to administer one-on-one health coaching to members of the CNY HMO Gold plan.
“We at EmblemHealth understand that New Yorkers are resilient and always on the move—but amid the hustle, it can become difficult to tend to your mental health,” said Dr. Kelly McGuire Medical Director of Psychiatry at EmblemHealth. “We must continue to have forums like these with our government and community partners, as they remind us that it is okay and necessary to talk about your mental health - no matter who you are – everyone must make their mental health a priority.”
“With nearly one in five New Yorkers experiencing mental health-related distress or a substance use disorder, now is the time to address our minds and well-being with the same care that we do with our bodies,” said Council Member Linda Lee, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions. “I am proud to partner with EmblemHealth, which joins in the Council’s longstanding commitment to educating and empowering New Yorkers to prioritize their mental health.”
“The first step to leading a mentally healthy life is often the hardest: reaching out for help,” said Dr. Dara Kass, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “I applaud EmblemHealth for hosting this open discussion and bringing together healthcare leaders to not only provide education and resources, but also serve as a supportive voice to ourselves and our loved ones who might be hesitant to seek care.”
In September, Neighborhood Care will build upon its commitment to community-based mental well-being programming. With federal support from Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the Mental Well-being Education and Support for New Yorkers program at Neighborhood Care Crown Heights will provide free, culturally competent mental well-being education and support to members of the community.
The programming will offer several approaches to addressing mental well-being challenges and care designed to tend to the diverse needs of African American, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQ+ community members.
“Cultural stigmas can often deepen health disparities among certain populations—especially our African American, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQ+ New Yorkers—and prevent us from seeking mental healthcare when we need it most,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, 9th District of New York. “I am proud to deliver this grant and support EmblemHealth’s efforts to provide accessible, culturally competent mental health programming to the Crown Heights community and beyond to historically marginalized populations.”
In addition, Neighborhood Care in Flushing launched the Mind and Body Well-Being Program this year offering free classes and one-on-one confidential conversations, as well as a network of community resources to help people manage daily stressors with a focus on the Asian American community. The Queens-based program has already generated 200 events, 100 peer to peer sessions, and over 1500 attendees.
Watch EmblemHealth’s Mental Well-Being Webinar to learn more below.