You know it’s important to protect your physical health, but your mental health, which also affects your emotional well-being, deserves attention, too. If you or a loved one is suffering from a condition that affects your thoughts, feelings or mood, you’re not alone. In 2018, an estimated 20 percent of U.S. adults experienced common mental health issues, including depression, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress, but only 43 percent received medical treatment. Why? Unfortunately, many people still fear the stigma or uncertainty surrounding a mental illness diagnosis, as well as the treatment options.

While there is no single direct cause, there are several factors that can contribute to a mental health issue, such as:

  • A family history of mental illness
  • Environmental factors, such as living in a stressful home or working in a high-stress environment
  • Lifestyle stressors, including lack of sleep and financial pressures
  • Traumatic life events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce or job loss

Battling the Winter Blues?

If you notice a change in your mood as winter settles in, you could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a recurrent depressive disorder that affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. annually, particularly during the shorter days of winter. Talk therapy, increasing outdoor activity during daylight hours and artificial light therapy are all possible treatments. Talk with your doctor or connect with Teladoc to find the treatment that’s right for you.

Recognize the Warning Signs

Although mental health issues present differently in each person, there are a few common signs that your mental health may be at risk:

  • Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior or sleeping habits
  • Substance abuse or dependence
  • Fear or anxiety that affects concentration or ability to perform daily activities
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a mood or behavioral disorder, the first step is to tell someone.

  • Sharing your feelings with a friend, family member or counselor can help you understand your emotions better and get the support you may need to ask for help.
  • With your Teladoc benefit, you can connect with a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor or social worker from the comfort and privacy of your home. To schedule an appointment, visit www.Teladoc.com or call (800) 835-2362.
  • Call the Funds’ Wellness Member Assistance Program at (646) 473-6900 for social service referrals. Remember: you don’t have to go it alone.

Stay Connected

Mental health concerns can make you feel as though it’s “all in your head,” which can be very isolating. So while you’re deciding on the treatment path that’s right for you, try to stay connected—whether it’s taking a walk around the block with a neighbor or calling a friend to chat.

Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness; National Institute of Mental Health; Psychology Today

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