It’s an especially tough time to be having a tough time at work. Thanks to the proliferation of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, anyone with access to a screen sees dozens of references to the latest tragedy every day. Occasionally, those sad stories include a perpetrator who allegedly suffered from mental illness. Leaving aside for a moment the issue of whether or not it’s fair for pundits to appoint themselves mental health professionals and diagnose a cause and effect, it’s hard to see — especially if you’re feeling less than well yourself.
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In addition, it can be difficult to find help when you need it the most. Due to the arcane processes at many health insurers, it can be hard to find a provider who takes your plan and has availability. That’s if you can find the energy to go scrolling through the website in the first place — not at all a sure thing, especially if you’re dealing with depression.
The good news is that many employers or the companies they contract with have services set up to help their workers when they need it most. Because these aren’t necessarily the first thing you look for when you’re thumbing through your new hire packet after taking a new job, we’ll outline a few common offerings here, and also discuss other help options outside of work.
Many companies contract with outside organizations to provide short-term counseling to their workers on issues like substance abuse, grief counseling, workplace issues, and occupational stress. Especially if your issue is work-related, your HR rep might refer you to an EAP counselor.
HR can also be useful helping you navigate your benefits in order to find a therapist or doctor, but here there’s a lot of room for variation between companies. Before you share too much, ensure that your conversation will be kept in strictest confidence.
2. Your health insurance company’s website or phone line.
Not all health insurers are created equal, and some have devoted a great deal of time and energy into creating better access for customers. Before you assume yours is one of the bad ones, log on to their website and see.
If that doesn’t work, you can also do a reverse search: ask your friends or doctor for a recommendation and then ask the therapist directly if they take your insurance. If you find it especially hard to summon the energy to do the necessary research, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a friend or family member.
3. Websites or hotlines of other organizations, including:
- WebMD‘s doctors prepared a comprehensive roundup of resources for sufferers of depression and related illnesses;
- Mental Health America provides a roundup of online support groups;
- The National Suicide Prevention Line offers assistance 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
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