This Mental Health Awareness Month, Let’s Find Ways to Support Each Other!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we hope this month, as always, you’re doing great! But we also get it if you’re struggling – many of us are after the last couple of years. But there’s also good news: according to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, almost 70 million adults resolved to find ways to improve their mental health at the end of last year. That’s around a quarter of the adult population! As American Psychiatric Association president Vivian Pender, MD, said in a press release, “To see one in four Americans focusing on their mental health in this moment is important and encouraging.”

So this month, we want to keep this trend going. To that end, we’d like to hear your stories, and we’d also like to highlight some organizations that are working hard to support those living with mental health issues, whether they can be of help to you, or you’re looking for a worthwhile place to donate or volunteer. 

The State of Mental Health in America

While resolutions to work on mental health are indeed encouraging, there are unfortunately still a lot of reasons we need those resolutions. Just check out these statistics: illustration of a person sitting down with sad faces around and the word depression over it

  • Nearly 50 million Americans (almost 20%) are experiencing a mental illness. 4.91% are experiencing a severe mental illness.
  • 9.5% of the adult population is living with a depressive disorder, while 18% of Americans aged 18–54 are suffering from an anxiety-related disorder.
  • 1 in 5 teens suffer from a mental illness, yet many avoid seeking help.
  • Most people living with mental health issues have two or more conditions, like depressive disorder and anxiety.
  • The Mental Health America (MHA) annual State of Mental Health in America report found an increase of 664,000 people from last year’s dataset reporting serious thoughts of suicide.
  • Women in the U.S. are two times more likely to suffer from depression when compared to men.
  • Women attempt suicide more often, but men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
  • Over half of all adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 27 million adults in the U.S. who are going untreated. The percentage of adults with a mental illness who report an unmet need for treatment has been increasing every year. 

These statistics are certainly less encouraging than our resolutions, but we also want to bring you some good news. First, let’s look at some positive mental health trends to look out for this year, and moving forward. 

Moving Forward

Fortunately, mental health is becoming more of a priority in our country, and there is research being conducted into how we can improve mental health services, address racial and socioeconomic disparities, and get to a place where we can all enhance our well-being, starting with our state of mind. The following are just a few positive trends to be aware of:

  • Nearly 61% of adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetimes, so clinicians, health care practitioners, educators, and mental health professionals are widely embracing a trauma-informed approach to care to address trauma among the broader population. This will mean a more holistic approach to treating mental health issues.
  • Soon you might be able to take a blood test to easily detect a mental health condition like depression. In April 2021, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine developed a novel blood test for mental illness, suggesting that biological markers for mood disorders can be found within RNA biomarkers.
  • We will most likely see the continued expansion of telehealth services for mental health. Not only that, but according to Nathaniel Ivers, PhD, department chair and associate professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many mental health professionals now have the training, experience, confidence, and technology to conduct telemental health services effectively and ethically. It also has the potential to increase mental health treatment access to rural and older adult communities.”
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive method of brain stimulation, has been studied extensively in recent years and is being increasingly used to treat certain mental health conditions. As the FDA continues to approve these types of treatments, it could mean help for people whose depression is not improving with traditional methods. 
  • Virtual reality, which has recently been approved as a way to help combat chronic pain, could also become an effective method for treating mental health concerns, since it can help users learn a number of behavioral and cognitive skills to cope with things like stress. 

As we said, the above are just a few innovations to look out for as we all try to improve our mental health. And for now, while we might not have all of these technological advances in place yet, and while we might not even have equal treatment for all, or a way for everyone to access help, there is something we do have. We have a lot of people working very hard for a lot of organizations that are supporting mental health. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

Organizations Supporting Mental Health

illustration of person lying down and a person sitting next to them
NAMI works to ensure individuals with mental illness live fulfilling, healthy lives.

As we’ve pointed out, a huge number of Americans are living with mental health conditions. But even though mental illness is so common, there is still a lot of misunderstanding and stigma associated with it, and it’s often difficult for individuals to seek the help they need. That’s where mental health charities can step in. Check out the following organizations:

1. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Through advocacy, public awareness, support, and education, NAMI works to ensure individuals with mental illness live fulfilling, healthy lives. They work to help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and to promote public policy, but they also help people directly through their hotline and help page. In fact, over 50,000 people were able to seek help in 2020 through their toll-free NAMI HelpLine (800-950-6264) alone, and the help page of their website got over 233,000 hits!

2. Mental Health America (MHA)

This organization is all about promoting good mental health for all, with a strong emphasis on prevention, advocacy, and educational programs. One of MHA’s core philosophies is their B4Stage4 Philosophy: “that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process,” similar to how we strive to prevent and treat cancer well before Stage 4.

3. Rethink Mental Health Incorporated

Rethink Mental Health Incorporated encourages us all to “rethink” the stigma associated with mental health issues and empower people to get the help they need. They do this through educational programs, as well as advocacy programs that encourage those who are struggling, or who can encourage others to get help, to speak out. Rethink Mental Health Incorporated also has a more creative side, with music and art programs. 

4. Child Mind Institute

Here’s another statistic to throw out there: half of all mental illness occurs before the age of 14, and 75% occurs by the age of 24. That’s why the Child Mind Institute focuses on bettering the lives of children and families of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders. They offer treatment options, as well as support for families and teachers, and conduct crucial research.

5. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

As we noted above, the number of people with suicidal thoughts is increasing every year. But the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is working hard to change this, by supporting those affected by suicide through research, education, and advocacy, with local chapters in all 50 states. In addition to funding a lot of critical research and hosting local events, AFSP is also currently supporting and funding the 988 crisis response system, which is a new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (also called just Lifeline) that will be operational nationwide by July 2022. The current number is 1-800-273-TALK or 8255.

6. The JED Foundation (JED)

The JED Foundation’s mission is to protect the emotional health of, and prevent suicide for, our nation’s teens and young adults. They partner with high schools and colleges to help give teens and young adults coping skills by encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health. They also engage in public policy and advocacy, but it’s their “Seize the Awkward” campaign, which encourages young people to have important (but sometimes awkward!) conversations with each other about their mental health, that really stands out as a unique initiative.

7. The Trevor Project

head puzzle of 4 different colors being put together by a hand
The Trevor Project provides crucial mental health resources for members of the LGBTQ community under 25 years of age.

You might know this organization as one that supports young LGBTQ people – but how do they support them? With a lot of focus on mental health. The Trevor Project provides crucial mental health resources, focusing on issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and suicide prevention in members of the LGBTQ community under 25 years of age. They have resources like crisis intervention tools, suicide prevention trainings, and other community resources.

8. Shatterproof

Shatterproof is a nonprofit that focuses on how substance abuse and mental illness impact communities across the United States. They seek to end the stigma around substance abuse and help treat and prevent addiction by advocating for policy change at the federal and state level. They also provide educational tools and support for those seeking treatment.

9. Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective

BEAM’s goal is to help remove systemic barriers that often block African Americans from  accessing mental health resources. The nonprofit does this through education, training, advocacy, and the creative arts. In addition to other resources, BEAM has mobile crisis unit services in some states.

10. The National Center for Transgender Equality

While this is a more holistic organization, the National Center for Transgender Equality also offers a variety of resources for transgender mental health issues. 

Through advocacy, research, education, treatment services, and destigmatization, these organizations all work in some way to make life better for those living with mental health issues and their families. Please consider contacting one if you need help, or donating to one if you can afford to do so – you can even make a difference by volunteering! 

The bottom line is, any one of us can go through difficult times, and considering how common mental health issues are, most of us know someone who is even if we’re not. So, this month (and every month), let’s find ways to support each other, and ourselves. Feel good out there!

How the “Mental Load” Is Dragging You Down and What You Can Do

We’ve all heard the jokes and seen the memes: adulting is hard. Yes, yes it is: getting yourself to work every day so you can pay your bills, doing taxes, grocery shopping – none of it is exactly fun. Maybe it all makes you long for the days when someone took care of all the important stuff for you, someone who not only helped you with what you needed to do, but kept everything organized, remembered where everything was, and did the worrying for both of you. 

So what kind of magical being could possibly do all of that? Well, in many families, that burden falls on the mother of the house, who can often end up feeling burnt out, not just because of all the actual tasks she has to do (and there are a lot of them!), but because of what’s known as the “mental load” (also known as cognitive labor, worry work, or invisible labor) that goes along with having all of those responsibilities. All of this keeping on top of things can lead to mental and even physical issues for (usually) moms, so what can you do to keep yourself from drowning under the weight of the mental load? 

What Is the Mental Load?woman laying in bed awake with her hands behind her head

What runs through your mind as you try to fall asleep at night? If it’s fluffy sheep leaping through a meadow as you peacefully count them, we’re not talking to you – but if it’s things like taking mental inventory of how much toilet paper is left in the house, making a list of appointments to make for your kids, and trying to remember if you defrosted dinner for the next day, then you know exactly what the mental load is. 

It’s the behind-the-scenes work of managing a household full of people; it’s the overseeing of everything; it’s being burdened with never-ending to-do lists constantly running through your mind – and it’s making you feel overwhelmed. You help with the homework, keep the kitchen stocked (while remembering what everyone likes, at least for that week), schedule everything (and somehow keep those schedules straight in your head), take those few extra minutes to check all the coupon apps to stay on budget, do the laundry, make any and all travel prep, know everything that’s going on your kids’ lives, and basically keep a running list of everything that needs to be done. 

And, more than likely, if you’re nodding along to all of this, you’re a woman and a mother in a heterosexual partnership. For example, here are some eye-opening statistics: 

  • A 2019 study found that women in heterosexual relationships tend to take on more of the cognitive labor. They found this particularly true when it came to anticipating the needs of others and monitoring progress.
  • Another 2019 study found that 65% of the moms who participated had a job, but 88% reported they were still the ones that primarily managed routines at home, and 76% said they were mostly responsible for maintaining regular household standards and order. And, according to a New York Times survey, 66% of women say they’re responsible for child care and 70% say they’re in charge of housework. 
  • In one study, nearly 9 in 10 partnered mothers said they felt solely responsible for managing their families’ schedules; another study found that 72% of working moms feel that it’s their responsibility to keep on top of their kids’ schedules. 
  • 52% of working moms say they feel burnt out from staying on top of everything. 
  • Roughly 3 in 5 working women say they think about household tasks while at work.
  • 69% of working moms agree that household responsibilities create a mental load.
illustration of a woman on the phone, feeding a baby, while ironing a shirt.
Studies show that about 69% of working moms agree that household responsibilities create a mental load.

And just because division of labor has become more equitable in many households over the past few decades, doesn’t mean that the mental load has gotten any lighter; if anything, women are recognizing it more. In fact, according to Lucia Ciciolla, PhD, a psychologist at Oklahoma State University who has researched the impacts of invisible labor on mothers, “even though women may be physically doing fewer loads of laundry, women are realizing that they continue to hold the responsibility for making sure it gets done – that the detergent doesn’t run out, that all of the dirty clothes make it into the wash, that there are always clean towels available, and that the kids have clean socks. Women are recognizing that they still hold the mental burden of the household even if others share in the physical work, and that mental burden takes a toll.”

Taking Its Toll

So, no, you’re not imagining things. You not only have a huge amount to do, but you also have a huge amount to think about, and it’s dragging you down and burning you out. And when we say “burning you out,” it’s might be having noticeable mental and physical effects, like:

  • Anxiety and depression – Being overwhelmed is taking its toll on women: according to the CDC, 1 in 10 women, mothers included, experience symptoms of depression, and women are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Feeling like you’re never able to step away from everything you’re juggling can cause symptoms of these psychological issues, or heighten them in people who are already prone to experiencing them.
  • Sleep deprivation – Sure, when you’re a new mom you’re going to be kept up at night by your baby, but for many women, problems sleeping can continue long past the newborn phase; in fact, 74% of moms have experienced symptoms of insomnia. The physical and mental demands of motherhood might end up keeping you up at night – add onto that the “mom guilt” that is might be playing on your mind, and you have a recipe for serious sleep deprivation, which can in turn lead to irritability, a weakened immune system, and feeling disconnected from your family.silhouette of a head with white puzzle pieces missing, and the black pieces outside of the head.
  • Memory problems – If you’re a mom, you’ve probably made a joke about “mom brain” at some point, maybe after you’ve misplaced your keys for the tenth time, or forgotten that your glasses are on your head…but you know what? It’s actually a real thing, and taking on the mental load of motherhood certainly doesn’t help improve it. The term for it is “postnatal depletion,” defined as a “physical and mental deterioration” that can occur from losing nutrients like iron, zinc, and B12 following childbirth – but because of the stresses of parenthood, this “depletion” can last for years. According to Suzie Welsh, R.N., MSN, “What happens over time is that mothers take on more of the mental work when raising children, thus leading to ‘mommy brain’ and easily turning into a more serious issue of postpartum depletion.” Women who experience this prolonged depleted state can end up with fatigue that sleep doesn’t help relieve, difficulty concentrating, and memory issues.
  • HeadachesHow often have you said the words, “Mommy has a headache”? Probably three times more often than your male partner, unfortunately. Why are women three times more likely to experience headaches? Hormones, stress levels, anxiety, lack of sleep, and burnout all contribute to frequent headaches: according to Jaclyn Fulop, board licensed physical therapist, “Stress and the mental load of a mother can wreak havoc on the body, releasing chemicals causing the body to react, going into a state of fight or flight. The body cannot distinguish between an actual threat or the stresses of daily life. If this cycle repeats itself, it will affect the central nervous system and the brain causing pain signals in the body, which can ultimately lead to triggers in the body.”

Is There Anything You Can Do?

The mental load takes up space in your head, is a drag on your physical and mental health,  and keeps you from doing things just for you – and we don’t just mean stuff you have to do, but stuff you – gasp – want to do. The only real solution is to take on less, but that can be far more easily said than done, especially for moms, who often have trouble asking for help. But remember, saying you need help is NOT admitting defeat, and taking time for yourself or letting go of certain worries is NOT selfish. 

So, while there’s no one solution to this problem, there are some things you can consider to help lighten the load:

  • Set boundaries – What’s one of the first words your children learned? No! Now that you’re a mom, you might have to relearn that word, as well as learn to recognize and accept your limitations: you can’t take on everything. the back of a woman walking on a bridge
  • Make time for yourself – As with all of these ideas, this one can also be tough; after all, you don’t want to make carving out “me time” just another source of stress. So, start small, with say 5 or 10 minutes a day during which you take a walk, meditate, read, or just breathe – anything that grounds you. That, plus adding in 20-minute power naps whenever you can, will also help to reduce headaches and feelings of fatigue. 
  • Make technology your friend – Whenever you can automate something, do it! For example, put things like diapers or toilet paper on subscription, use grocery delivery services (yes, you’ll still have to order your groceries, but at least you’ll have that extra hour when you’d normally be at the store!), and set up automatic bill pay. 
  • Talk to your partner – Notice we didn’t use the word “delegate” here. Having to delegate tasks is actually part of the mental load; as the artist EMMA explains in a viral comic explaining the mental load, “When a man expects his partner to ask him to do things, he’s viewing her as the manager of household chores. So it’s up to her to know what needs to be done and when. What our partners are really saying, when they ask us to tell them what needs to be done, is that they refuse to take on their share of the mental load.” So how do you approach this? Well, that could be a whole article in itself! But think about this: 
      • Start the conversation by finding common ground; for example, you can say something like, “I know you value contributing equally to our relationship, and I think you may not realize I have more responsibilities that go unnoticed.”
      • Use “I” statements instead of “you” accusations.
      • Offer concrete examples of your mental load, including pointing out that delegating itself is part of the load.
      • When dividing up tasks, account for the tasks themselves and the invisible labor, and explain that you want to share the management of tasks, not just the tasks themselves.
      • Be careful of “gatekeeping,” or monitoring, criticizing, and worrying about the way another person does the things you normally do; trust your partner to get things done, and if it’s truly important to you that something gets done a certain way, explain why. Remember, you’ve probably internalized a lot of expectations about how your house should be run, so letting go can be hard – but can also be very freeing!handing sticking out of water with the word help written on it
  • Ask for help in other ways – It’s ok to go outside of your own headspace and let other people in, and we’re not just talking about your partner. Talk with your friends who are moms; they’re probably feeling the same, and would most likely welcome a “me time” exchange, in which one day you let all the kids play at your house while your friend does something she wants to do, and vice versa. And remember, if symptoms of anxiety and depression are creeping in, don’t hesitate to speak to a mental health professional.

Do you recognize yourself in all of this? Trust us, we get it, and we know that the weight of the mental load can be overwhelming, and lead to burn out. That’s why it’s important to carve out time for yourself, as well as reach out to others to let them know that you just need some space to breathe. Being a mom (or a dad!) is a great joy, and also a lot of work, but you don’t need to lose yourself along the way.

Mental Health Insurance For Children

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is February 1st – 7th, and we want to take this time to focus on the mental health of children. The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 5 children are dealing with mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders, and unfortunately only 20% receive care. Untreated mental disorders and mental illness in children can lead to dropping out of school, substance abuse and even suicide. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital for avoiding these outcomes, so finding a comprehensive health plan is an important step towards keeping your children safe and healthy, both physically and mentally. 

A Growing Problem black silhouette of a person sitting with their knees to their chest and pieces of the back floating away

Mental health claims have been on the rise since 2017. The pandemic has been making the problem worse, and even causing an increase in suicides. Children have been just as affected as adults by current events: they are now glued to screens for school, and are dealing with increases in cyberbullying and anxiety. Being isolated in their homes could be the reason behind a sharp increase in mental health crises among children. In fact, the CDC has reported that, from March through October of this year, the share of mental health-related hospital emergency department visits rose 24% for children ages 5 to 11, and 31% among adolescents ages 12 to 17, when compared to the same period in 2019.

ACA Mental Health Coverage

All Affordable Care Act (ACA)- approved health plans must cover essential mental health benefits, including:

  • Screening for mental health conditions 
  • Behavioral treatment
  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient hospital services
  • Pre-existing mental and behavioral conditions
  • Substance use disorder treatment

The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 requires that insurance coverage cannot have more restrictive requirements for behavioral health coverage than it does for physical health like medical and surgical services. This means that you or your child can seek treatment such as group therapy, psychotherapy, and medications to help treat mental health issues in the same way that you would seek treatment for a physical ailment.

Employer-Based Coverage

paper in folder that says employee benefits package with a highlighter
Employer coverage must have mental health health benefits, and you can check exactly what is covered in your summary of benefits.

All employer-based plans must comply with ACA requirements for mental and behavioral health, including parity protection laws. If you have employer-based coverage, look at your plan’s summary of benefits to see what level of coverage you have for mental and behavioral health. If you find that your plan does not provide enough coverage, you can opt out of your employer’s plan and choose to purchase an individual health insurance plan instead. 

You can also ask your employer about Employer Assistance Programs (EAPs), which can include mental health counseling and support. Some programs are available at no cost, and some employers might cover the fees if their health plan does not. 

Individual Coverage

The ACA Marketplace or private insurance plans are great options for affordable coverage that meets your medical needs. All plans comply with ACA regulations on mental and behavioral health coverage, and it is possible to find a plan that offers more coverage or has lower copays if you speak with an EZ agent.

Unfortunately some families cannot find mental health care because of lack of providers in their area, or some cannot afford the cost of services. If you come to EZ, one of our agents will check each available plan’s network of doctors and medication costs to find a plan that is affordable and meets your needs. We will work with you to find an in-network mental health provider close to your area, and we will make sure that your medications are covered under your plan’s formulary. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak with an agent, call 888-350-1890.

The Dark Side of the Rainbow: A Pride Month Spotlight on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health

We’ve come a long way in a short time towards protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. In the last decade we’ve seen states outlawing conversion therapy for minors, banning biased coverage exclusions by health insurance companies, and allowing alternative gender expressions on identification and birth certificates. While the LGBTQ+ community is seeing legislative gains and political representation, there are still serious issues that need to be addressed. One of the most serious problems is the mental health crisis that is disproportionately affecting the youth of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The Hidden Enemy

caucasian hand with black nail polish on the floor with pills in her palm and on the floor.
39% of LGBTQ youth and more than half of all transgender and non-binary youth seriously considered attempting suicide.

In 2019, The Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth, contacted over 34,000 individuals in the United States for the largest ever survey on LGBTQ mental health. This survey gives us a better understanding of the experiences of these teens, and the picture it paints is a disturbing one. 

  • 39% of LGBTQ youth and more than half of all transgender and non-binary youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months.
  •  71% of LGBTQ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year
  • 2 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that someone has tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. Children and teens who have undergone conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not.
  • 71% of LGBTQ youth reported discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity

Let’s Talk About It

The numbers don’t lie – LGBTQ youth are suffering. They face bias in and out of the classroom, unsupportive home environments, violence, and an uncertain political climate, all while struggling with their own identities. According to the Trevor Project, 87% of respondents said it was important to them to reach out to people with knowledge of LGBTQ issues. One way adults can help lighten their load is to serve as a safe space to process their experiences. In fact, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation says that support from caring adults is the greatest protection LGBTQ youth can have from depression and suicidal feelings. silhouette of a woman and an adolescent girl sitting on a bench facing each other with a sunset in the background.

What these young people want, more than anything, is for a trusted adult to tell them it’s okay – they’re okay – and that they’ll get through this. You can be that person for your children, their friends, and your community by remaining compassionate and open to conversation. If you notice a young person struggling, reach out to them and ask what’s going on. Something as small as checking in can show them that you’re on their team, and that can make all the difference.

Raise Your Voice

Youth engagement in American politics is at an all-time high. It’s wonderful that so many young people are inspired to speak up about issues that matter to them, but the unfortunate fact is that only having social media as a platform doesn’t always lead to true change. So while we, as adults, can’t single-handedly push congress to pass protective legislation, we can lend our voice by voting in local and national elections, with LGBTQ+ rights in mind. We can call or write to senators, state representatives, and congress demanding action for equal protections for LGBTQ+ youth and adults. Locally, you can attend board meetings and advocate for GSAs, inclusive bathroom policies, and comprehensive sex education. Attending board meetings also gives you a platform to speak up if your school is allowing hostile environments and bullying. By amplifying their voices, we can give validation to their messages, show support and solidarity, and help impact real change to improve the experiences of LGBTQ teens. 

Right now, the statistics paint a bleak picture for the future of LGBTQ youth. If we act now, with openness and compassion, we can make their future brighter.

a bunch of palms facing together with red painted on them to form a heart.

Reach Out

  • The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

  • The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Provides advice and assistance to runaways, including resources, shelter, transportation, assistance in finding counseling, and transitioning back to home life. NRS frontline staff will also act as advocates and mediators if/as needed.

The True Colors Fund is working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth, creating a world in which all young people can be their true selves.

  • The GLBT National Youth Talkline: (800) 246-7743

An agency that provides telephone, online private one-to-one chat and email support from youth for youth.

Mental Health Is Just As Important For Seniors

If a mental illness goes untreated, it can have a serious life impact on a person, leading to depression and even death. The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that depression is the number one cause of disability around the world. In order to battle this, it is important to seek professional help and utilize Medicare coverage for any of your mental health needs.

Mental health affects seniors 65 and older. It is important to seek help before it worsens.
Mental health affects seniors 65 and older. It is important to seek help before it worsens.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that about one in five adults deal with some form of mental illness each year. About 20% of adults 65 and older in America are diagnosed with either schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and/or certain phobias. Medicare covers a large variety of these mental health illnesses within hospital inpatients and outpatients.

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)

Medicare Part A covers services in either a general hospital or a psychiatric hospital when admitted as an inpatient. If you are in a psychiatric hospital, Part A coverage is limited to 190 days of services during your lifetime.

Medicare will pay for approved inpatient stays during your benefit period. Once you are admitted to the hospital, the copayment is $0 until you reach 60 days. After that, your benefit period ends and you begin paying a copayment of $335 for days 61-90 of each benefit period. After the 90 days, you will have to pay $670 per “lifetime reserve day” for each period (up to 60 days in your lifetime).  After that, you will pay for all costs.

There is a lifetime limit of 190 days for inpatient psychiatric hospitals. For example, if you go to the hospital for psychiatric care in April and stay for 80 days, once you leave, that period is considered done and over. Now if you have to re-enter a hospital again for treatment in September, it is considered a new benefit period. You can keep starting a new benefit period at anytime and it will be covered until you have reached 190 days totaled between all the visits. The inpatient deductible for each benefit period (every time you start a new hospital stay) is $1,340 in 2018.

It is important to know that you will also still pay your 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for services received from providers while in hospital inpatient.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)

Doctors help explain what is covered and what you can do.
Talk with your doctor and find out how they can help and what is covered by your Medicare.

Medicare Part B covers outpatient psychiatric services that are considered a substitute to inpatient care. The visits covered are those of psychiatrists, clinical social workers or licensed alcohol and drug counselors, clinical psychologists, and others. If you meet certain requirements, and a doctor says it is necessary, Medicare will cover you for individual or group psychotherapy, family counseling, and psychiatric evaluation.

Medicare can cover occupational therapy that is part of your mental health treatment as well as individual patient education about the condition you are diagnosed with.

When it comes to payment, you will pay the 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the services from doctors who accept Medicare assignment. The Part B deductible will apply, which is $183 in 2018. If the services are provided in a hospital outpatient clinic, you may have to also pay a copayment.

Medicare Part B covers at no cost to you one depression screening every year, as long as the doctor accepts Medicare assignment. The screening has to be done at the corresponding doctor’s office or primary care that can provide follow-up treatment and referrals.

Ask Questions

Some recommendations by your doctor may not be covered by Medicare and will have to come out of pocket at full cost. So make sure to ask questions about the condition you are diagnosed with and whether Medicare will cover it.

If you have any questions regarding Medicare, and you are seeking coverage for mental health, EZ.Insure can help. We offer you your own highly knowledgeable agent for your region, to go over all the plans and what they offer. We provide you with quotes and will help you sign up, free of charge. Contact us through email at, call 855-220-1144 to get a quote, or enter your zip code in the bar above. We promise to help as much as we can to provide you with the most affordable plan.