Healthcare News & Stories

Mental Health

Couple talking to a therapist
Health, Mental Health

How To Find A Therapist If You've Never Had One Before

Mental health professionals are in high demand right now. Given that we’re eighteen months into a deadly global pandemic, this is no surprise. Many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones, jobs, plans, and normalcy. And if that’s not hard enough, the stresses of our everyday lives haven’t stopped.
At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), your total health is our top priority, now more than ever, including your mental and emotional health.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need some extra support, you’re not alone. Studies show that the rate of anxiety and depression has risen significantly among American adults during the pandemic. And our children’s mental health is suffering, too.
HealthPlans of NC

via Blue Cross NC by Emilie Poplett

Mother and child wearing masks
Health, Mental Health

7 Tips: Helping Children Overcome Anxieties About Returning To School

My eldest son is 11 years old. After months of home learning, he returned to the classroom last fall. The transition back to the classroom came earlier for our family than for most, but it was still marked by tremendous anxiety for my son. Being with peers isn’t always easy.
Many of us eagerly anticipate the moment when we can gather in groups again. We crave that vital sense of connection to our loved ones, to our peers and to our community. But that doesn’t mean reintegrating into social settings will be easy. It can be especially scary for children.
My son’s reluctance is not an isolated tale. Incidents of children refusing to return to group settings are on the rise. In particular, many parents have noted that their children with anxiety disorders were happier and more comfortable at home. While the pandemic has left most children feeling more stressed, we know that some children with social anxiety or OCD have actually been happier in social isolation.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC By Nora Dennis

Person hiking with dog
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

6 Surprising Ways Hiking Can Improve Your Mental Health

It’s curious how well-versed we are in the physical benefits of hiking. The activity can:
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Reduce your risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure. (Hiking regularly has been shown to lower blood pressure by 4 to 10 points.)
HealthPlans of NC

From Blue Cross NC By Joe Miller

2 people shaking hands
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

Real Men Go To Therapy: Know The Signs Of Depression In Men

Growing up I saw men in my family struggle with real emotions and avoid most deep conversations. I partly blame this on my Italian heritage, where men are expected to work hard, avoid feelings and push through pain. In my family, a man’s role was to provide and protect the family at all costs. If you showed any sign of weakness, that meant you were not in control.
As a kid I straddled two worlds: one trying to be the man that I thought was expected of me, and the other wanting to be able to express my feelings. I was an emotional kid, and I know it was hard for my dad to relate to me.
My emotions were all over the place:
HealthPlans of NC

James LaCorte via Blue Cross NC

Cartoon crowd of people
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

We Can't Ignore Racism In Healthcare

When we talk about racism, some people say, “You’re an insurance company. What does race have to do with anything?”
It’s a good question, and the answer is: a lot.
Some people may be surprised to find out how much race impacts health. For example:
HealthPlans of NC

Qi Zhou

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion It's who we are
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Our Work Doesn't Stop!

We know racism and discrimination lead to health disparities and impact the health and safety of our employees, members and communities. Health inequity impacts all North Carolinians. North Carolina is consistently in the lower percentile of state health rankings. *Data shows our state’s health system ranked #36 of 50 states and #46 of 50 states for disparities. Think about that – #46 of 50 states. To ensure healthy communities for generations to come, we must work to transition from the bottom quartile to the top quartile.
At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), we cannot fulfill our mission to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities without explicitly addressing disparities and health inequities. While we’ve laid groundwork as a company on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts for more than a decade, our work does not stop.
Like many companies, this summer we released a message standing against racism. We commissioned an internal task force to think about what Blue Cross NC should and can be doing for:
HealthPlans of NC

Tunde Sotunde

Person looking at a smartphone beside a Christmas tree
Health, Mental Health

Spending The Holidays Alone? 3 Tips To Take Care Of Your Mental Health

QUICK READ
With COVID-19 cases rising, many of us have chosen to stay home for the holidays. This might bring up feelings of sadness or loneliness.
To cope with difficult feelings, make a self-care plan ahead of time.
HealthPlans of NC

Emilie Poplett

Child blowing bubbles
Health, Wellness, Blue Cross NC, Mental Health

100 Screen-Free Ways To Keep Kids Active This Summer

Many of us have wonderful memories of growing up and playing outside, carefree all summer. But today’s kids are more likely to be spending time in front of their mobile devices, computer, or TV. This can lead to being sedentary, feeling isolated, and getting bored.
In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s (CDC). And with sports and summer camps on hold because of the coronavirus, our kids may be feeling especially stir crazy.
If we can help kids play and be more active, it will benefit them physically and emotionally.
HealthPlans of NC

Michelle Rogers

End racism sign
Health, Wellness, Mental Health

“I Can't Breathe": Racial Injustice & Black Mental Health

2020 was supposed to be an awesome year. The beginning of a new decade. A fresh start.
Fast forward to March 2020. We found ourselves in a worldwide pandemic. Many of us felt this year couldn’t get any worse. But 2020 stood up, stretched, and said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I’m just getting started.”
May 25, 2020.  George Floyd was murdered, and the whole world watched in horror. This isn’t the first Black man killed unjustly on video. But for many people, this felt different. This was a slow, painful execution. We watched this man as the life slowly left his body, the knee of an officer on his neck. Unapologetic. No remorse. Even as the Black man pleaded and begged, “I can’t breathe. Please. I can’t breathe.”  Then, on instinct, he cried out for his mother to save him.
HealthPlans of NC

Brian Edmonds

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