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Mental Health Awareness for Life Care Planners

Mental Health Awareness for Life Care Planners

Earlier this month we began a discussion about the role mental health screening plays in a life care planner’s work. It is a crucial part of my diagnostic efforts as I meet with and treat my patients. Identifying the mental health disorders that crop up when someone suffers a catastrophic injury or develops a chronic disease is part and parcel of my work as a doctor. And as a life care planner, my job must naturally include the treatment of anxiety, major depression, etc.

To continue that conversation, I want to talk about the data. What do the numbers show re: mental health and the chronically ill? And which treatments (that you can perform in the comfort of your own home) currently show promise in alleviating these conditions? 

Treating the Chronically Ill and Injured

An illness or severe injury will often create similar mental illness problems; according to the CDC, just the presence of a chronic condition increases risk severely. In return, the mental illness can then exacerbate certain health conditions: “Mental illness, especially depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.”

Then there is the impact on work and on health. “For depression in particular, approximately 80% of persons with depression report some level of functional impairment because of their depression, and 27% reported serious difficulties in work and home life.” Anxiety and depression drive up healthcare costs and pull families apart. Ignoring the symptoms can have repercussions that last decades. As you can imagine, it is best to nip this vicious cycle in the bud. 

Mental Health Treatments Showing Promise

Meditation: Meditation is a mindfulness practice that can be done from anywhere in about ten minutes a day. I recommend an app such as Calm or Headspace to familiarize yourself with the practice before settling into the daily routine that suits you best. The data shows that meditation helps you feel better! There is also evidence of better emotional and informational processing, and the actual reshaping of your brain.

Journaling: Journaling falls into the same “mindfulness” category. The act of writing out thoughts, coloring, and similar exercises brings you into the present moment. Your journal should include a regular gratitude practice; writing out what you’re grateful for has been shown to ease stress and increase feelings of calm. {Contact us today for your own copy of our BMG Journal}

Sleep: This is one of the biggest issues we address in my practice. If you’re not sleeping well or waking up tired it should be discussed with your doctor, and medications aren’t always the solution.

Movement/Exercise: This can be as simple as a ten-minute daily walk. Your body secretes hormones during movement that make your body work better and feel better.

While we can always point you in the direction of medication and therapy if that is what’s needed, these daily practices can help tremendously too. When you already feel bad, eating and watching TV as part of a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t generally improve things. Being proactive with the methods above can help.

Getting Help is Important, Because You Matter

No matter where you are in your journey, a life care planner can help. This is true for both the physical and mental manifestations of your condition. It’s also important to remember that the victims of trauma are disproportionately affected, especially those who already suffered some kind of trauma in childhood. Their reaction to both mental and physical afflictions can be devastating without professional assistance. 

Ask yourself: “Why am I still so angry,” or “Why am I still stuck?” If it feels like work needs to be done, we can help. Life care planners are advocates for full-body care, and that includes the mind. Contact our office today for a consultation so that we can help you.

 

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