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Advocating for Mental Health Support

Posted on: June 10th, 2020

In my last blog, I mentioned ways to help show compassion and care for our health care providers.  I wanted to elaborate this week on our licensed mental health providers.  Please keep counselors, social workers, and other behavioral health providers in your thoughts and prayers as well.  

The mental health needs of our communities are increasing and changing during this crisis.  The demand for therapy is high and providers are often at full capacity.

Further, while many insurance plans are covering behavioral health services in some manner, others are not.  Many providers are offering reduced rates and sliding scales to accommodate folks during this crisis.

Telemental health platforms are also making it possible to check-in with clients, assess their risk and safety, and continue to work towards stability.  Many providers are offering shorter sessions via telehealth, allowing them to see more people.

To complicate things, some insurance companies are requiring specific platforms to gain services, making it difficult for clients to stay with their current mental health provider.  The disadvantage of these specific platforms is that some are already full and are no longer accepting new providers.  Clients may be forced to change therapists, amidst a national crisis, which can cause harm to them, depending on their situations and unique mental health needs.  

While other insurance plans have expanded their coverage, it is important to stay informed.  Some plans are waiving copays and deductibles while others are collecting copays.  Some companies are reimbursing significantly less for telehealth sessions as well as requiring shorter-length sessions, despite similar quality as face-to-face visits.

Some clients have opted out of services altogether until the crisis is overdue to changing financial circumstances.

Whatever your situation, be an advocate for yourself.  If your insurance plan allows for outpatient visits, but not tele-behavioral health visits, talk to your HR rep, senator or congressman. 

Continue to seek help if you need it.   Contact me at SHCS with any questions, referral needs, or services.