Coping with the pandemic.
Navigating The Conversation around mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.An interview with Alma CEO Dr. Harry Ritter on navigating the conversation around mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic – the first in a series hosted by Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser.
Which mental health resources are available to me?
- Emotional Support Helpline: (866) 342-6892
- Optum, our behavioral health benefits partner, has a toll-free emotional support helpline that’s free of charge. It’s available to anyone, so you can even share it with family and friends, and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For help finding an in-network mental health provider and details on your mental health benefits, go to hioscar.com/member/benefits/mental-health.
- Virtual Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Support
- WeConnect provides peer and contingency management support for SUD while members are unable to access in-person support. The organization has arranged free, daily recovery support groups open to anyone dealing with substance use, mental health concerns, disordered eating, or other quality-of-life concerns.
- Stay Mindful with Calm
- We have partnered with Calm to offer all Oscar members 40% off an annual subscription for all sleep and stress reduction tools. Calm has more than 100 guided meditations and sleep stories to help you manage anxiety, lower stress, and sleep better. To access this benefit, go to hioscar.com/member/benefits/perks/
- National Hotlines
- If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or overwhelmed, there are a number of telephonic options to provide immediate crisis and non-crisis counseling and support.
- Disaster Distress Hotline runs 24/7 and offers free, multilingual and confidential crisis support. Call: (toll-free) 1-800-985-5990 Text: TalkWithUs to 66746.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also runs 24/7 and offers free, confidential crisis support. You do not have to be suicidal to call this lifeline. Call: (toll-free) 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- National Domestic Violence Hotline for any victims and survivors who need support. Call: (toll-free) 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Warmline Directory: A warmline is a confidential, non-crisis emotional support telephone hotline staffed by trained peer volunteers. To find your local warmline and their hours of operation, click on the NAMI link here.
- Virtual Mental Health Visits
- We partner with Doctor on Demand* to provide virtual mental health visits. Members can visit DoctoronDemand.com and sign up for an account using their Oscar ID and selecting “Oscar” as the Health Plan option on the drop-down menu. Once registered, select “Mental Health.” You can schedule an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist directly through the “schedule appointment” button. You can also speak to your Care Team if you have any questions. Please note that Doctor on Demand is only in-network for Mental Health services, not Medical Services.
- Interactive Tools and Communities
- Vibrant Emotional Health: Safe Space provides interactive, digital resources and tools for additional emotional support. This site is run by Vibrant Emotional Health, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Mental Health America (MHA) hosts online community forums where people can connect and provide support on a variety of topics, both mental health condition-specific and non.
What are some tips for reducing anxiety?
#1: Practice simple breathing techniques.
Sitting up straight or lying down on the floor, inhale deeply and allow your belly to expand. Count to five as you exhale slowly. Repeat a few times.
#2: Go outside for at least 15 minutes a day.
Breathe fresh air, go for a walk around the block, and try to get your heart rate up. Just remember to keep at least 6 feet between you and other people at all times.
#3: Eat healthy, balanced meals.
It may be tempting to eat a lot at this stressful time (or not eat at all), but try to maintain a regular eating schedule with nutritional food choices when possible.
#4: If you’re a parent, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect.
Abnormal times call for unusual approaches to babies and children. Don’t judge yourself too harshly for loosening screen time rules to get things done. Model appropriate expressions of emotions, such as frustration and sadness. Above all, help your kids feel safe, and reassure them as needed. They will take their cues from you.
What are some tips for easing isolation?
- #1: Call or video chat with friends and family.
Many of us are isolating alone, which is hard, but we can call the people we love across the world. It’s good to express how you’re feeling to people you trust. Try to arrange virtual gatherings on a regular basis, such as a game night or book club, and call or text people often.
- #2: Pursue a new interest or explore a creative passion.
There are many online classes and video tutorials out there (for free!) that allow you to try something new right from your own home: yoga classes, DIY crafting videos, live online concerts and events, and more. There’s something for everyone.
- #3: Maintain a normal sleeping schedule and routine.
- If you’re having trouble sleeping, try Calm. We’ve partnered with Calm to offer you 40% off any sleep and stress reduction tools. Through Calm’s app, you can start your day with a daily meditation practice to manage stress and anxiety, and use it at night for more restful sleep.