Overcome Stigma: Learn More About Mental Health and Why Your Well-being is Important

Sarah Jane Rodriguez

January 8, 2024

Share this article

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. And they’re both equally important to your overall health and wellness. Yet, stigma – or negative beliefs and attitudes – continues to keep many people with mental health concerns from getting help.

Stigma can come in many forms. It can come from the people around you, the way systems and policies are formed in your community, and from within yourself. Stigma persists even in cultures where legislation exists to protect the human rights of people with mental health conditions. As stigma is often rooted in fear and misunderstanding, let’s take a moment to learn more.

What is mental health?

As defined by the World Health Organization, mental health includes your emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how you think, feel and act. It also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

Contrary to what many people think, mental illnesses do not represent a lack of self-discipline or flawed character. They also do not usually come and go, like a phase or stage in life. In fact, mental health conditions are medical conditions. And they develop as a result of biological, psychological, and social factors. They can affect people from all backgrounds, geographies, and demographics.

Are physical and mental health conditions related?

Mental illnesses can affect all areas of your life just as physical health can. That includes your overall health, relationships, career, and finances. People can experience one or the other, or both. Meaning, physical and mental health conditions can be separate health issues. They can be interconnected health issues. And they also can cause or contribute to one another. People who have mental health conditions often experience physical symptoms. For example, people with depression may get headaches, fatigue, or digestive issues. And people with anxiety disorders may experience stomach, sleep, and focus troubles.

What can I do to help my mental health and well-being?

There are a lot of proven ways to help nurture your mental and emotional health. Start by thinking of ways you can proactively manage stress, maintain optimism, and build resiliency. For example, to manage stress, avoid overcommitting yourself at work and in your personal life. Also, do things that help you release tension. Take time to relax, move your body, laugh and participate in fun activities you enjoy. Making meaningful social connections with uplifting people can help bring joy and positivity into your life, too. So does practicing gratitude, which can help you remember the good in life even when times are tough. And if you are experiencing a mental health concern, practice self-care and reach out for support.

How can the APWU Health Plan help?

To help you feel better and more in control of your emotional well-being, the APWU Health Plan offers our members benefits for mental health. If you are a member of our High Option Plan, office visits with a licensed professional mental health practitioner are only a $25 copay when you stay in-network. We also offer $10 virtual visits through Teladoc for those who prefer not to go in person. For members of our Consumer Driven Option, you can use your Personal Care Account, as long as funds are available, for both in-office and virtual visits; if your PCA is exhausted, a deductible and a 15 percent coinsurance will apply. With UnitedHealthcare’s extensive network, there are over 305,000 behavioral health providers to choose from.

We encourage you to get the help you need so that you can get back to being you. Call the number on the back of your ID card to get started. ■

Source: October_2023_World_Mental_Health_Day_Article_en- US.pdf (optumwellbeing.com).

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.