Whether we’re talking about a client with a primary mental illness or a secondary condition which has developed as a result of a long standing injury there’s no doubt that mental illness and psychological injuries are on the rise. Therefore, here are the top 4 tips for case managers overseeing a mental illness claim:
1. Encourage Mindfulness
The research being unveiled lately regarding the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in managing stress, anxiety and depression is really mindblowing. The success of apps like Headspace and Calm is a huge indicator of the move in society’s attitude from meditation being a love of only hippies and yoga teachers to a useful and positive tool for the general population in managing their mental health. Check out this article covered by the NY Times last month.
2. Encourage exercise
As the article above shows, 30min of walking exercise twice per week combined with 30min of meditation and mindfulness practice accounted for a 40% decrease in depressive symptoms over an 8 week period. Now 30min of moderate intensity exercise can be hard for anyone to start doing, if it’s not already a habit, let alone someone with mental illness SO if you ascribe to the “anything is better than nothing” mentality and just encourage patients to move and achieve small goals of say 3-5 minutes of movement, 2 – 3 times per week and build on this week in and week out the benefits will still be there.
3. Encourage positive body language
“Keep your head up” is no longer just an old fashioned saying encouraging folks to “hang in there” and to not be too hard on themselves, it’s now shown that adopting a positive body language with your head high and a straight spine can exude confidence and project positivity to others which will in turn elicit positive feelings internally.
4. Be consistent with communication
Sounds easy right. The working life of an insurer can be difficult when you’re managing upwards of 150-200 claims at any given time and a passing comment to a claimant of “I’ll check in with you next week” which then goes by without the said check-in can have huge negative implications spiraling the client into further despair and rumination as they’ve been “let down” again. Remembering that while you may have 150-200 people to contact, they only have one, you. So touching base when you say you are going to can have a huge positive impact for someone who may feel they have no-one that understands what they’re going through.
I’d love to hear your top tips on the most beneficial ways you’ve been able to help a client with a mental illness. Let us know an example of where you’ve been able to positively impact a client of yours.