How To Use Your Mental Health Benefits And Improve Your Life

An estimated one in five American adults, the equivalent of 4.2 percent of the adult workforce, suffers from a mental illness. As an employee, you can use your mental health benefits to improve your life.

Know the Law

Several laws protect employees with mental health challenges.
  • The Affordable Care Act requires state marketplace, private and individual medical plans to offer minimum mental health screenings, preventative care and substance use services. With this law, your employer may be required to provide you with beneficial mental health care benefits.
  • Group benefit plans may not deny coverage to anyone with a history of mental illness. You won't be punished for having a mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse problem.
  • You’re entitled to confidential care from your mental health providers and employer. While you may need to discuss your mental health concerns with your supervisor, you should not suffer repercussions or retaliation because you seek help.
Use your Mental Health Benefits

In many cases, your mental health benefits include therapy, psychiatric care, medication, and inpatient or outpatient mental health and substance use treatment. Use your benefits. Without the proper treatment, you may rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms, increase your risk of hospitalization, a workplace accident or absenteeism, or experience a decrease in productivity and creativity.

If you’re worried about the cost of mental health care because of a high deductible or stigma, remember that early intervention helps you properly address mental illness or other mental health challenges. Treatment can also improve your overall health and quality of life

Take Medications as Prescribed

If your mental health care provider prescribes medication, take it as directed. Your benefits may allow you to ask for a generic brand or utilize a mail order fulfillment service to cut costs.

Participate in the Employee Assistance Program

In addition to your mental health benefits, your employer may offer an employee assistance program (EAP). It gives you confidential access to a professional who will listen to your concerns and direct you to the support you need, whether that’s counseling or treatment in a facility. You may also be able to contact the EAP if you’re concerned about a co-worker.

Contact your Insurance Concierge

Some insurance companies offer a concierge service that connects employees with the services they need. Contact your insurance company by phone or online to discover your options, including local therapists, treatment centers and other mental health assistance.

The mental health benefits that come with your employee benefits package can help you succeed at work and in life. Consider these tips for using your benefits efficiently.
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