According to MakeItOK.org, each year, one in five Americans experience a mental illness. Most will wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment, largely due to the stigma associated with it.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to start talking about mental illnesses. When we start talking, we realize that mental illnesses are more common and relatable than we think. By driving awareness and empathy, we can create a society that treats people experiencing mental illness with respect and acceptance. Perhaps most importantly, we can help connect those in need with life-changing, sometimes life-saving, mental health resources.
You can be a part of that solution. For example, many of us don’t realize how to respond to people when they bring up mental illness. Fortunately, the answer isn’t complicated. Our responses to those in need should very much mirror what we say to those experiencing a medical issue. For example:
- “What can I do to help?”
- “I’m here if you need me.”
- “Can I drive you to an appointment?
For tips on what to say and not say when having a conversation about mental health, visit MakeItOK.org.
Need mental health help yourself? If you have one of Valencia’s UnitedHealthcare (UHC) medical plans, mental health benefits include:
- Medical treatments on either an outpatient or inpatient basis including diagnostic evaluations and assessment; treatment planning; referral services; medication management; individual, family, therapeutic group and provider-based case management services; crisis intervention; partial hospitalization/day treatment; services at a residential treatment facility; and intensive outpatient treatment.
- Psychiatric services that are both provided by or under the direction of an experienced psychiatrist and/or an experienced licensed psychiatric provider and focused on treating maladaptive/stereotypic behaviors that are posing danger to self, others and property and impairment in daily functioning.
- Intensive behavioral therapies, which include educational/behavioral services that are focused on primarily building skills and capabilities in communication, social interaction and learning.
UHC members are encouraged to contact the mental health/substance use disorder administrator for referrals to providers and coordination of care by calling the member services number on the back of their UHC medical ID card.
Other mental health resources include:
- Valencia’s Employee Assistance Program
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- The Trevor Project
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
If you have questions about your Valencia benefits, contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).