We all probably recently heard that a politician indicated that veterans who come back home with PTSD are weak. Why would one suggest such a thing? Because sadly, this is the view that many hold.
The stigmas surrounding mental health challenges, including PTSD, depression, and suicide (among others) are alive and well. All that you have to do is search for hashtags #stopthestigma or #endstigma to see how many people experience stigma.
Stigma is a problem not only because it prevents people from reaching out for help but also because it results in isolation, poor self-esteem, and poor treatment outcomes. You can read more about the prevalence, causes, and effects of stigma here.
If you are a veteran reading this, please know this. You are STRONG. Whatever you experienced and whatever you continue to experience wasn't and isn't your fault. YOU ARE STRONG. THIS ISN'T YOUR FAULT. Help is available, and you are worth it.
Here is a directory of therapists. You can apply many filters, to narrow down who might be a good match for you.
You Are Not Alone. You Are Strong.
Many people ask me why I don’t take insurance. I understand the concern, because who wants to pay for a service out of pocket when their insurance may cover a portion of the cost, right?
I have many reasons why I don’t take insurance, but here are the main ones.
When I worked in community mental health, a large part of my time was taken up during the day by billing and documentation. I understood that billing had to be done, but I always wished that I could just spend the extra time with clients instead of doing paperwork. Now that I have my own private practice, I can! Sure, I still have paperwork, but with a part-time schedule, I do not feel that I can take up much time doing billing and other insurance paperwork that is required, were I to accept insurance.
You deserve the best treatment
You deserve to have the best treatment possible. Insurance companies put restrictions on how many sessions you can have, what you can have sessions for, what type of therapy they will reimburse for, etc. For some people, they can fit into these requirements, and insurance works great. But for others, more flexibility is needed. I want you to be able to have as many sessions as you need, sessions for what you need, and with the type of therapy that will work best for you.
Insurance companies require diagnoses in order to reimburse for services. I do see value in this at times, but again, I don’t think it works for everyone. For example, what if you feel like you want to see a counselor, but you don’t have a billable “mental health diagnosis”? Your insurance won’t cover it! Or, what if you don’t want the counselor to provide a mental health diagnosis to your insurance company, where it will remain a part of your health record for the rest of your life? By seeing a counselor who doesn’t take insurance, you don’t have to worry about this issue.
So you may be wondering, can you afford to see me? The answer is most likely! There are several options.
I do see people under their EAP benefits (employee assistance program). If you have an employer who offers Cascade EAP services, you can see me for free, for as many sessions as your employer allows. Some people only need 3 to 6 sessions (usually the amount that are free under the benefit), and some people opt to continue seeing me after their benefit runs out. At that point, they pay out of pocket for service or use my sliding scale. When using EAP, it is confidential, your employer will not know that you used the service (they only know how MANY employees use the service), and no mental health diagnosis is required.
Out of network
If you do not mind a diagnosis going to your insurance company, you are welcome to submit a claim to your insurance company for an out of network benefit. I can provide you with a receipt with all of the information you need to submit to your insurance company. Many people’s insurance companies do reimburse for “out of network” providers, and I have some clients who use this option.
While my out of pocket prices are affordable (and in line with or below most therapist’s rates!), I do believe every person should have access to mental health treatment should they want it! Please contact me about my sliding scale if you are unable to afford my regular rates.
My online therapy rates are cheaper than my in person rates. So this is another thing to consider when you are trying to determine if in-person or online therapy is the best option for you!
Insurance questions and rates can be confusing. I hope this clears things up a bit. But, please let me know if you have any additional questions!
I recently came across this infographic on Pinterest, and thought I would share it. The pictures are of brain scans, showing the differences between people with a diagnosis vs. those without.
It is a good reminder that we need to take the stigma away from mental illness. So many of my clients share their stories about the shame of struggling with mental health challenges.
Sometimes, pictures like this help us to realize that what we are experiencing isn't something that is "made up," "annoying," or something one can just "get over" with the snap of a finger (wouldn't that be nice....).
The reality is that many of us struggle or have struggled with mental health challenges (including me!). 1 out of every 4 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness any given year. We are not alone. Help is available! There is hope.
Hope you all are having a great week!
Everyone has stress. Some stress is actually helpful. For example, if I am stressed out about giving a presentation, I will likely do more to prepare. Some stress though, the kind most of us think of when we hear the word "stress," gets in the way of us achieving our goals and living the life we want to live. Some of the consequences of how stress can impact the body, mind, emotion, and behavior are listed in the image below.
While it is important to take care of your stress year round, I thought now (while we are in the midst of the holiday season) would be a good time for some reminders on what you can do to alleviate stress. Check out this article, entitled "How to Reduce Stress: 10 Relaxation Techniques that Zap Stress Fast." Each of these techniques can help reduce your stress in the moment. If you make these techniques part of your daily life, you can do some proactive work in combating chronic stress. As always, let me know if I can be of help. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!
You read it right. 1 million people die of suicide each year. In the United States, the number is 30,000. Each year in the United States, 1 million people are treated for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
In this post, I would like to tell you a little bit about suicide and how you or your loved one can get help if struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
There are different levels of suicidality ranging from passive thoughts to a lethal plan with intent. If you or someone you love has a plan to commit suicide and intend to carry it out, this is a psychiatric emergency. Please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you live in this area, the nearest emergency room that can assist you is at Salem Hospital.
If you have a loved one who is suicidal but doesn't want to or cannot get help on their own, you may call the police and ask for a welfare check. Tell the police as much detail as you can about your loved one's plan and intent. In order for the police to take your suicidal loved one to the hospital, they must believe your loved one to be in imminent danger (ie, will not survive the next 24 hours unless they intervene).
If you or your loved one is suicidal but without a lethal plan or intent, you may go to the Psychiatric Crisis Center in Salem for assistance.
If you have struggled with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, you know that these thoughts and behaviors come and go. If you are not currently dealing with a psychiatric emergency, you may find this app, called Safety Plan, helpful. The goal is to be able to do something you know might be helpful until the suicidal thoughts pass. Please check it out! They have different versions for iphone and android.
Finally, a word about people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Most people who have these thoughts and behaviors don't actually want to die. They simply want to end the pain they are in and see no other way to do so. Judging is not helpful. Offering options or being willing to talk about suicide is helpful. Sometimes people are afraid to bring up the topic of suicide, thinking they may give ideas to the one they fear to be suicidal. This is not the case. Talking about it is helpful and you are not going to put any ideas into your suicidal loved one's head that they haven't already had themselves.
If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact me, via my website, email (email@example.com), or phone (503-874-4374).
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
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