BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- As Louisianians recover from Hurricane Ida, many are feeling upset or overwhelmed. This is on top of record numbers of people reporting anxiety, stress, and depression since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana wants residents to know that it’s important to check in on how you’re feeling, especially during times of crisis. September is National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month, and the insurer is sharing behavioral health resources to encourage asking for help if you need it.
“Even before Hurricane Ida, our state was in a fourth surge of COVID-19, a new school year was starting, and many Louisianians were still rebuilding from last year’s devastating hurricane season, including Hurricane Laura,” said Dr. Deirdre Barfield, Blue Cross vice president of Medical Management and senior medical director. “Understandably, people are feeling very anxious about their health, their families and what will happen. It’s important to take time to check on your overall well-being and find strategies that help you stay on top of stress.”
Dr. Barfield shared the example of airplanes advising passengers to put their own oxygen masks on before assisting anyone else to show why self-care is important. “You can’t pour from an empty glass,” Dr. Barfield said. “It’s important to always make time to relax, unplug and focus on how you’re feeling to identify problem areas and decide how you’ll address them. That’s even more important in times like these, when crises beyond our control affect our daily life.”
The good news is that people are often more resilient in a crisis than they think they are, and there are many ways to ask for help, Dr. Barfield said.
“If you’re struggling with daily tasks or can’t be present to your family and loved ones because you’re so overwhelmed by bad feelings, let your healthcare provider know,” Dr. Barfield added. “Just like you’d tell your provider if you felt physical pain, you should mention how you’re feeling mentally. Your provider is there to help you and can recommend treatment options, suggest resources or prescribe medication if needed.”
If you or someone you know is showing warning signs of suicide, including talking of being a burden to others or wanting to die, drinking or using drugs, behaving recklessly, giving away possessions or showing a lack of interest in the future, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll free at 1-800-273-8255. The Louisiana Department of Health also has crisis behavioral health resources available.
Blue Cross has several programs and services to help members get help for their mental health needs.
To learn more about Care Management programs and services or to sign up for health coaching, visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger.