Recognize mental health concerns in your loved ones

May 03, 2023

depressed teenager girl with phone laying on bedAccording to the National Library of Medicine, nearly 20 percent of children and young people ages three to 17 in the United States have a mental, emotional, developmental or behavioral disorder. Suicidal behaviors among high school students increased more than 40 percent in the decade before 2019. Mental health challenges were the leading cause of death and disability in this age group.

These stats are alarming, especially if you are a parent concerned about your child’s mental well-being.

Depression shows up differently in different people but there are some common symptoms you can keep an eye out for:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Anxiety, restlessness or nervousness
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating and making decisions
  • Frequent or repeated mention of not wanting to live, suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide

It is important to know that as a HealthSelectSM participant, you have resources that can help you and your loved ones navigate these types of challenges.

If you or your covered dependent are in a crisis situation and need immediate help to find resources for care, call (800) 252-8039 (TTY:711) to speak to a mental health clinician 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Personal Health Assistant will answer the call during business hours (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT.), or you can follow the system prompts to get connected after hours. You will be connected with a licensed mental health clinician who will ask questions to determine if you need guidance on a condition, help finding a mental health provider or community resources.

Melissa, one of the mental health case managers at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), shares what one of these calls might look like:

“As a mental health case manager, my goal is to help participants feel empowered in their health care choices. I tell participants that I am their resource "library" to make sure they have the referrals, information, education and community services options for their ongoing mental health care. I highlight beneficial tools and resources, such as Virtual Visits, that are part of their HealthSelectSM medical plan benefits. I can help them to identify the type of provider that would be most beneficial for their care, provide referrals if necessary, coach them on how to choose a provider and educate them on how to advocate for themselves with their care providers.”

Virtual Visits offer a convenient option for accessing mental health care. You can consult a licensed mental health professional any day of the week online. Visit the Virtual Visits page for more information.

Melissa continued, “I also assess their symptoms using tools including the PHQ9 (depression screen) and GAD7 (anxiety screen). My goal is to establish a relationship with the participant where I reach out to them regularly to support their wellness journey. I perform the depression and anxiety assessments monthly so that they can use the results to focus on any challenging symptoms with their providers.

“I also help participants get connected with medical case managers or social services case managers to address medical concerns and concerns related to social issues that may be limiting their access to care. I encourage participants to contact me with any questions. If I can’t answer a question, I help them find out where they can get the information they need.”

For more information about mental health benefits available as part of your HealthSelectSM medical plan, visit the Mental Health page on the HealthSelectSM website, or call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant toll-free at (800) 252-8039 (TTY: 711), Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT.