The Mental Health Connection
As we start the New Year, our focus is on “breaking down the barriers to exceptional mental health care for people of all ages, cultures, socioeconomic levels, accessibility challenges and treatment needs.”
With this cause in mind, we plan to bring on more In-Home and Medi-Cal providers. And we continue to expand our network of top-quality mental health care professionals—not just in Southern California—throughout the state and beyond. Our goal for 2022 is to extend our reach into other states. This could happen as early as this year’s first quarter. In line with this expansion is our growing involvement in pre-surgical psychological clearances.
As Help Therapy grows, we want to show our appreciation to our providers by offering new benefits in the coming months (Stay tuned for more info to come).
And be assured that we’re following the news very closely about Omicron and any other new developments and taking the necessary precautions to keep providers and patients safe.
Wishing you health and happiness in 2022,
Annette Conway, PsyD
January is National Mentoring Month
National Mentoring Month, started in 2002, brings national attention to the need for mentors in our communities. It’s also a time to look at how we as individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools and more can work together to encourage people to mentor, giving more young people more opportunities to fulfill their potential. Young people with a mentor are:
52% less likely to skip a day of school.
78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
130% more likely to hold a club or sports team leadership position.
Learn more about this campaign and how you can help. Visit Mentor.
Seasonal Depression and SAD
The holidays bring anticipation, excitement and joy for many. But when it’s all over, some find returning to normal, everyday life more challenging than others. Seasonal depression, occurring after the holidays, can stem from several common causes. One cause is the letdown after the holiday festivities. Another is financial concerns about paying off holiday spending. A third is the anxiety caused by giving up on New Year’s Resolutions after a few days or weeks. Combine these situations with the thought that there may be nothing much to look forward to in the coming months—characterized by colder and drearier weather. It can be overwhelming. Dreary weather is a cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder too. Researchers believe that the lack of sunlight during Fall and Winter causes changes in our body’s internal clock and rhythms. These changes can cause depression. SAD often lasts through Winter until Spring. The difference between SAD and other types of depression is that symptoms generally improve as the days lengthen during Spring and Summer with SAD. The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are similar to other forms of depression:
Fatigue and lack of energy
Sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
Loss of interest in activities
SAD is more common for those living in northern regions as they have the least amount of sunlight during Fall and Winter. But SAD can strike in sunnier areas as well, including Southern California. Like other forms of depression, SAD is treatable. Talk therapy can help identify and treat SAD, as it treats other forms of depression—with or without the aid of medication. Light therapy is also often effective in treating SAD. Light therapy involves a particular device that emits light similar to natural outdoor light and replaces sunlight, which can be inadequate during the Fall and Winter months. Other ways that may help relieve depression, especially SAD: Getting outside during the day—especially when it’s sunny Letting the light in and face the window or door when possible Getting some form of exercise daily Diagnosing SAD or Seasonal Depression is the first step. Patient awareness is key to starting a path to recovery.
Help Therapy Offers Post-Operative Counseling
Whether small or large, surgery is an invasive procedure that can be traumatic. Yet, the emotional ramifications of surgery are not given adequate attention. Instead, attention is focused on the physical outcome of a procedure, as the physical aspect of a person is what the surgery is meant to improve. Varying degrees of anxiety and depression may be seen as “not unusual” or “understandable” fallout from particular types of surgery. But that doesn’t mean it should be accepted or ignored. On the contrary, it should be faced openly, honestly and compassionately.
But people undergoing surgery are often not mentally prepared for what’s to come—both before and after surgery. Many are unaware of the possibility of experiencing mental health issues at any point in the process—from minor depressive symptoms to major depression or PTSD.
It’s critical to the patient’s recovery and surgery outcome to address the emotional effects of surgery. Prepared patients, especially those with pre-existing mental health conditions, can be more proactive in managing current symptoms and those they may develop from undergoing surgery. Since everyone is unique, every surgery is unique and has the potential for various outcomes—both physical and psychological. And these outcomes can be positive or negative, with short-lived or long-lasting results. Some surgeries are more apt to lead to depression than others. Likewise, depression may last longer with some types of surgeries than others. [READ MORE]
What You Need to Know about New Billing Disclosure Requirements
The No Surprise Act is in effect. Beginning January 1, 2022, Psychologists and other healthcare providers will need to provide estimated costs of services before starting treatment. Here are some guidelines:
Ask if the patient has health insurance coverage (including through government insurance programs) whether or not the patient intends to submit a claim to that insurance.
Inform all uninsured and self-pay patients that a good faith estimate of expected charges will be provided before treatment. The requirements of the estimate include:
Being available in a clear and understandable written document and other accessible formats
Being available in the language spoken by the patient
Provided orally when a patient asks about costs or when an appointment is scheduled
Provide a good faith estimate of expected charges, including typical additional services or items. This estimate must be provided in the following timeframes:
If an appointment is scheduled at least three business days in advance, no later than one business day after scheduling
If an appointment is scheduled at least ten business days in advance, no later than three business days after scheduling
If a self-pay or uninsured patient requests a good faith estimate without scheduling an appointment, no later than three business days after the request
If a patient reschedules an appointment, a new estimate is required within the specified timeframes listed above
You can find more information about the requirements of this act here.