Thousands of studies have been conducted on the mind + body connection. The evidence is clear that our mind’s health does affect our body’s, and vice versa. Doing your best to balance your health, both mentally and physically, can drastically improve how you feel on a daily basis.
According to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, aerobic exercises can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression due to increased blood circulation to the brain. Exercising can improve confidence and self-esteem, uplifting you and preparing you for a full day.
In addition to these benefits, it also adds several benefits to your overall health and wellbeing, which will have natural positive effects on your mind. For example, Mayo Clinic states that daily exercise boosts energy and promotes a full night’s rest. With these two aspects factored in, productivity and inspiration may arise easier than without exercise.
If you are experiencing feelings of overwhelm, stress, anxiety, depression or loneliness, you can try going on a 30-minute walk and then journaling about the experience. Did your mood improve after the walk? Did you feel more connected to yourself during and after it?
For those experiencing low energy, Emerald Psychiatry recommends starting with a shorter time and working your way up. This could manifest as five minutes of walking around your home per day and eventually increasing the time by five more minutes if you feel your energy growing. Taking these small steps can still improve mindfulness and lessen feelings of stress.
As for emotional health, physical movement can assist in the processing and releasing of emotions. Frontiers in Psychology conducted an 8-week study to discover if aerobic jogging and yoga can increase emotional regulation. The results: both physical practices improved emotional regulation, mindfulness and physical fitness. Participants experienced better focus and steadier moods by the end of the study.
There are plenty of exercises you can participate in to improve your mental and physical health, including dancing, running, swimming, biking, HIIT, cross fit, yoga and much more. Overall, the most important thing is treating your mind and body with love and kindness and doing what you feel comfortable with.
Sometimes children will run away from home in the midst of an impending crisis.
If you think your child has run away:
When you are reconnected with your child, express your love and concern while putting at bay the anger and fear you are likely experiencing. Discuss with your child what led to running away and come up with a plan your child can use for when he/she feels like running away again. Identify a safe person you both can agree on, that your child may contact in the future, rather than running away. Share the runaway resources with your child.
Author: NAMI Minnesota
This content was taken from NAMI Minnesota's Mental Health Crisis Planning for Children booklet.
Mental Health Parity
If you have private health insurance, you should be aware of mental health parity. Parity requires health insurance plans to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders in the same way as treatment for other health conditions.
There is a federal mental health parity law, the regulations are in effect, as well as a Minnesota law that has been in place for a number of years. Unfortunately, these laws typically do not apply to health insurance offered to individuals and through small employers (under 50 employees individual policies except through MNsure), or Medicare or Medicaid.
Parity laws do not require a health insurance plan to cover mental health and substance use treatment but do require plans that cover these treatments to cover them in the same way as other health conditions.
If a plan has to follow the parity law, it must treat mental health and substance use disorders in the same way as other conditions in three main areas:
In order to file a mental health parity complaint through the Department of Commerce, you can fill out an online form at https://mn.gov/ commerce/consumers/file-a-complaint/. Using this form, you should register a complaint on Life/Health Insurance and then specify the specific issue that you are having. If you are having trouble navigating the Department of Commerce website, you can also call their Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600. If you are an individual or small group HMO policy enrollee, then you should contact the Department of Health at 651-201-5100 or 1-800-657-3916.
Federal parity also applies to the criteria used by health insurers to approve or deny mental health or substance use treatment. The standard for “medical necessity determinations”—whether the treatment or supplies are considered by the health plan to be reasonable, necessary, and/or appropriate—must be made available to any current or potential health plan member upon request. The reason for denials of coverage must also be made available upon request. Under state law, the Department of Commerce now has the authority to request information from the health plans to determine whether the plans are using NQTLs more restrictively to limit mental health and substance use disorder benefits.
Federal law bars health plans that offer mental health benefits from setting annual or lifetime limits differently than limits for other medical benefits. Under Minnesota law, health plans licensed by the state cannot have higher co-payments or different limits for mental health or chemical dependency services than other medical services.
Here are some signs your health insurance plan may be violating parity laws:
If your health plans denies coverage for your mental health or substance use disorder treatment, you can appeal it and ask for more information about why your treatment was denied. Should your health plan deny coverage upon review and you believe this violates mental health parity, then you should contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 651-539-1600, MN Department of Health or the US Department of Labor at 1-866-487-2365. To learn more about parity laws, visit www.nami.org/parity, paritytrack.org or parityispersonal.org. Those websites will also have resources for filing a complaint if you have a self-insured plan through your employer that may not be following parity laws. Please call NAMI Minnesota as well at 651-645-2948.
Author: NAMI Minnesota
This content was taken from NAMI Minnesota's Hope for Recovery booklet. View more of their publications, here.