By Youmna Nafady, LSW, Senior Health Advisor

From time to time, everyone feels depressed or anxious, but these feelings can also be a sign that someone needs mental health treatment. Depression and anxiety are often “silent symptoms,” invisible to outsiders, so it can be hard to know when to take them seriously—and where to go for help.

Before joining Better Health Advisors, I worked at top hospitals as a medical and psychiatric social worker. I counseled many people in crisis, and I’ve seen firsthand how mental health issues affect not just individuals, but their loved ones. Are you concerned about yourself or a family member?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Take sleep problems seriously. If someone is having trouble sleeping, it’s likely to affect their mental health and can lead to other health issues.

Look out for mood and behavior changes. Has someone’s appetite changed? Have they lost touch with friends they used to talk to daily?

Depression and anxiety symptoms are different for different people. Whatever your symptoms are, if they are affecting your ability to function on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to seek mental health treatment. For example, anxiety before a test is normal, but someone with chronic daily anxiety is likely to benefit from treatment.

Mental health symptoms are often invisible, so someone may look like they are doing okay even when they aren’t.  If you’re worried about a friend or family member’s mental health, or you know they are under stress, check in on them and ask how they are coping.

A health advisor can help you arrange for and steer care.

Because the Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for so many people, professionals in the mental health field are completely overwhelmed. Finding a therapist who is accepting new patients and is a good match for you isn’t easy—and someone in crisis may not be up to the challenge.

As a health advisor, I work closely with my clients to help them find a therapist whose expertise suits their unique needs and with whom they feel comfortable building a relationship.  For example:
We recently started working with a client named Samantha*, 38, who struggles with black and white thinking, a form of cognitive distortion. Her in-depth assessment revealed that she swings between feeling as if  everything is great and feeling like the world is crashing down on her. At Better Health Advisors, we’re connected with a wide network of mental health professionals, and we often arrange appointments on our clients’ behalf.

We found Samantha a great therapist who offers solution-focused therapy, because we believe she will benefit from that approach. We also switched her health insurance to a plan that better meets her needs, and we put plans in place for different types of emergencies so that instead of worrying about what might go wrong, she feels prepared for anything. She is now able to manage her symptoms and stressors.
If you or your loved ones need help accessing great mental health care, reach out to an expert health advisor for support throughout the process.

*Name and identifying details have been changed