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The Mental Health Connection - August 2023

It’s hard to believe, but back-to-school time is not too far away. Parents and children may find this time of year a bit stressful. To help you and your children get through the transition, we have compiled a collection of back-to-school mental health tips for parents and an informative article focused on back-to-school mental health tips for students. You’ll find valuable insights to help you and your children navigate this period more easily and confidently.

Before we move on, I want to express my gratitude to all of you who have played a pivotal role in making Help Therapy one of the top non-medical services in San Diego County for 8 years running!

In line with our dedication to growth and support, we have several opportunities for mental health care professionals. Firstly, if you know any psychologists or other mental health care professionals seeking new opportunities, we have openings available for new providers to join us. Secondly, if you're searching for office space for your practice, Help Therapy has office space available for sublet at a very affordable cost. Lastly, we still have openings for our new "Private Billing" service, dedicated to handling the billing process for your personal clients.

Thank you once again for being a part of the Help Therapy family, and we look forward to growing together and positively impacting mental health in San Diego County and beyond.

Annette Conway, PsyD

CEO and President

Help Therapy

August is National Wellness Month and National Breastfeeding Awareness Month National Wellness Month During National Wellness Month, the focus is on self-care, stress management, and promoting healthy routines. Throughout the month, we are encouraged to cultivate healthy habits, like taking a weekly yoga class, learning to meditate, or adding more veggies to our meals. Taking small steps can lead to developing many more healthy habits in our daily life. National Breastfeeding Awareness Month The USBC (United States Breastfeeding Committee) organizes a social media advocacy and outreach campaign every August. The goal is to engage in online actions and conversations surrounding the policy and practice changes necessary to create a supportive environment for babies and families. Each week the USBC provides information and resources in observance of a specific theme. Learn more at USBC.

Better Access to Mental Health Care Benefits in the Works It’s not uncommon for individuals to contact multiple therapists in their plans’ networks only to find the providers weren’t accepting new patients or had extensive waiting lists. Despite bipartisan efforts for mental health equality, insurers often hinder access to mental health care, leading millions to seek costly out-of-network care or go untreated. In response, the White House unveiled a national strategy to improve mental health understanding, access, and treatment. The White House is now announcing new actions that would improve mental health parity requirements and ensure Americans with private health insurance can better access mental health care benefits under their insurance plan. These new actions reinforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, requiring health plans to provide equal mental and physical health benefits. The proposed rule mandates health plans to evaluate and update their policies, ensuring equivalent access to mental health benefits. It also specifies restrictions on prior authorization and network limitations, eliminating existing loopholes for non-federal governmental health plans. Specifically, the proposed rule would:

  • Require health insurers to evaluate the outcomes of their coverage rules and make necessary changes to ensure people have equivalent access between their mental health and medical benefits. This includes evaluating the health plan’s actual provider network, how much it pays out-of-network providers, how often prior authorization is required and the rate at which prior authorization requests are denied.

  • Specify what health plans can and can’t do. Specific examples will clarify that health plans can’t use more restrictive prior authorization, narrower networks or other medical management techniques that make it harder for people to access mental health benefits than other medical benefits.

  • Eliminate existing loopholes. Non-federal governmental health plans will be included in this rule.

Some challenges may arise in the process, such as insurance companies resisting changes, potential delays in compliance, or variations in interpretation across states. Additionally, mental health professionals may need to adapt to possible changes in reimbursement rates and administrative requirements imposed by health plans to comply with the law. Overall, the law's intention to improve mental health equality and uniformity is a positive step towards better mental health care access and outcomes, both for patients and mental health professionals.

Back-to-School Mental Health Tips for Students As the new school year approaches, it can bring excitement and nervousness for students and parents. Transitioning from a break back to a structured routine may feel overwhelming for the child and parent alike. Considering how this transition may affect your child’s mental health is essential. One easy and meaningful way to support your child’s mental health is to validate that their emotions are real and are worthy of our respect and attention. Here are six helpful mental health tips to share with your child to make the process smoother. Set Realistic Expectations Remember that nobody’s perfect. Embrace the idea that you will face challenges and setbacks like everyone else. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on personal growth and improvement. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and use any difficulties as opportunities to learn and grow. It's OK to stumble; what matters most is how you pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Organize and Plan Organize your school supplies and plan your schedule in advance. Create a study plan that allows for breaks and fun activities to maintain a healthy balance. Having a well-structured routine can ease uncertainty and stress.


Higher Ground Higher Ground serves children and adults with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities, veterans and first responders. Their programs combine outdoor recreation activities with therapeutic processes to assist participants in facing present challenges and acquiring abilities to enhance their daily life. Find out more at Higher Ground. Veterans Village of San Diego Stand Down 2023 Student-run dental clinics offer free and low-cost dental services across San Diego and other locations in California. For a list of clinics, visit UCSDPDS. Partner with us. Are you a psychologist, LCSW, LMFT or NP? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit for more information and fill out the quick and easy application.

Provider Spotlight

Desiree Cuevas, Psy.D

Dr. Desiree Cuevas is a compassionate and dedicated psychologist who strives to empower her clients to enhance their well-being and personal growth. She believes that her role as a therapist goes beyond establishing a connection with her clients. She aims to foster a sense of connectedness between her clients and their environment. Her holistic approach focuses on the growth of her clients as whole individuals. She uses various treatment modalities (individual, couples, family and group therapy) and empowers clients to actively participate in their own progress. Her specialties include intimate relationship issues, domestic violence, sexual assault, grief and bereavement, depression, life transitions, identity exploration, and diversity concerns.


National Health Center Week August 6-12, 2023 See IAB for more information. National Women’s Equality Day August 26, 2023 See NWHA for more information. National Grief Awareness Day August 30, 2023 See CH for more information. International Overdose Awareness Day August 31, 2023 See IOAD for more information. This Month's Tip Back-to-School Mental Health Tips for Parents Parents may face a number of challenges when preparing for their child to return to school. Arranging for transportation, adjusting to school and activity schedules, and managing their own work schedules to accommodate these changes are just a few. Here are four mental health tips for parents facing back-to-school challenges.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations: Acknowledge that the back-to-school period can be challenging and may come with ups and downs. Set realistic expectations for both yourself and your child.

  2. Establish a Routine: Gradually establish a back-to-school routine a week or two before school starts. Adequate sleep, balanced meals, and consistent daily schedules can reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

  3. Practice Coping Strategies: Practicing mindfulness, meditation or deep breathing exercises. These are healthy ways to manage stress. This sets an example for your child—teaching your child positive ways to cope with stress.

  4. Be Patient and Flexible: Adjusting to the school routine may take time. Be patient with your child and yourself as you navigate this transition. Stay flexible and be ready to adapt to unexpected changes.

Do you have something to share? We’d love to hear about your successes and accomplishments! Contact us at


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