Bertha Motta

Bertha Motta counts on her 1199SEIU mental health benefits during these stressful times.

When Bertha Motta moved to New York from her native country, Peru, 32 years ago, she discovered she could turn her love of caring for others into a career by becoming a home health aide. When her longtime agency closed in 2016, the Union helped her find work with Personal Touch Home Care and Sunnyside Community Services. These days, Bertha enjoys helping her clients stay calm, even searching the Internet for music videos from China for one client. “She smiles when I’m taking care of her,” Bertha says. “It makes me happy to see her enjoying life.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Bertha knew she had to take extra precautions to avoid infecting her clients, husband Armando, and sons Kevin and Jonathan. After attending a webinar hosted by the Benefit Fund’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Van H. Dunn, she got vaccinated in January. “There are so many sources of information out there,” she explains, “but Dr. Dunn knows what he is talking about—I trust him. I know that if I follow his advice, I will be as safe as I can be. He really is our hero!”

We are in the right place with 1199SEIU because all of the benefits they provide help us so much. We just have to make sure we are not afraid to look for the help they can give us.

Bertha Motta

Home Health Aide, Personal Touch Home Care and Sunnyside Community Services

Bertha also trusts that her health benefits will be there to help her manage her medical conditions, including high blood pressure, a thyroid condition and glaucoma. Her benefits help her stay mentally healthy, too. “It’s not easy to balance the stress from our job with home life,” she explains. “That’s why mental health assistance is so important. So many people I know don’t like to talk about it because of the stigma, but that can isolate them.” She’s received confidential mental health help through the Fund’s Wellness Member Assistance Program and participated in the “Caring for Those Who Care for Others” wellness workshops for Home Care workers. “Those benefits really helped me be at peace,” she says. To stay physically active, Bertha regularly takes long walks. “I enjoy walking around like a tourist,” she says with a laugh. “It helps me break from my routine and it’s good exercise!” She’s even using her education benefits to study psychology at LaGuardia Community College. “If you understand yourself and how to control your emotions, it’s the biggest gift you can give yourself,” she explains.

“We are in the right place with 1199SEIU because all of the benefits they provide help us so much,” Bertha adds. “We just have to make sure we are not afraid to look for the help they can give us.”

What Do Your Benefits Mean to You?

You count on your health benefits to support you in your efforts to stay healthy, whether it’s by getting regular checkups, keeping a chronic condition under control or just improving your lifestyle in general. But has there ever been a time when your health coverage literally saved your life or the life of a loved one? If so, we’d like to hear from you. To share your story with your fellow members in an upcoming issue of For Your Benefit, please contact the Funds at [email protected].

For Your Benefit Magazine