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#mentalhealthawareness

Seven Mental Health Resolutions to Make in the New Year

Whether you love making New Year resolutions or think they’re overrated, the New Year is a good time to consider healthier habits. If you want to try building your mental health in 2022, here are some goals to consider.

1. Practice gratitude.

Gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving! Taking time to be grateful, even for the smallest things, can increase our overall happiness.

Try writing down three things to be grateful for when you get up in the morning. Alternatively, write down three things that went well at the end of the day. Consider simple things you might overlook—for example, if you got home from work safely.

2. Set and maintain healthy boundaries.

Good boundaries are an important part of healthy, fulfilling relationships. They set an appropriate, secure division between one person and another.

Poor boundaries can cause emotional exhaustion, stress, and strained relationships. Learning to set and keep good boundaries with clients, coworkers, and loved ones could benefit your overall wellbeing.

3. Spend more time in nature.

A growing body of research has found that time spent outdoors, especially in green spaces, can help reduce stress and improve cognitive function. Look for ways to spend more time outdoors in 2022, whether you have to bundle up to build a snowman, or take a lunch break in the park.

4. Get more physically active.

What New Year resolution list would be complete without “Exercise more”? While many people exercise as part of a weight-loss goal, you can benefit mentally even if you don’t lose an ounce. Exercise has been linked to reduced depression, lower stress, and improved self-image.

Of course, you don’t have to go outside to exercise. A gym or YMCA can help you get moving even in the coldest, darkest months. Even a quick walk around your office is better than nothing!

5. Cut back on sugar.

Just like exercise, reducing your sugar consumption can benefit your mind as well as your waistline. One 2017 study found a correlation between high sugar intake and risk of common mental disorders in men. And older study found a link between refined sugar consumption and schizophrenia outcomes.

Avoid products with a lot of added sugar, such as snack crackers and salad dressings. Swap sugary foods with lower-sugar options. Limit your consumption of candy, baked goods, and fruit juices.

6. Sleep better at night.

It’s hard to accomplish much on insufficient sleep. Insomnia and fatigue can increase stress and harm our mental and physical wellbeing.

Building better sleep habits night might be the most important New Year resolution you could make. Limit light exposure in the evening and stick to a regular bedtime. Keep your bedroom cool, stop using screens once you get into bed, and avoid alcohol and caffeine a few hours before bedtime. This can help regulate your circadian rhythm and get your sleep schedule on track.

7. Cut yourself some slack.

Even small resolutions can be tricky to keep. Maybe all you need to do this year is go easy on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, and you may not always meet your goals. Learn from your mistakes, keep moving forward, and show yourself compassion.

Is your behavioral health practice software helping you meet your New Year goals? If not, it may be time for a change!

BestNotes EHR solutions were designed specifically to help behavioral health and addiction treatment providers save frustration, time, and cost. Contact us today to learn more about how can help your practice succeed.

date:  Jan 03, 2022
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Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States: How Are We Doing?

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? This is an opportunity to look at the state of mental healthcare in the United States to identify trends and areas for improvement.

Despite Increased Demand, Behavioral Health Services Cut Back

Demand for behavioral health services has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, has found that some provider groups laid off staff or cut back on programs.

The GAO report referred to a 2020 survey by the National Council for Behavioral Health that found that 27 percent of 343 behavioral healthcare organizations cut back employees. Forty-five percent of the organizations cut some of their programs. The majority (65 percent) of organizations reported having to cancel, reschedule, or turn away patients in the summer of 2020, even as 52 percent reported an increase in demand.

Some providers have had to reduce inpatient beds to follow social distancing requirements. Others have had difficulty getting insurers to cover inpatient stays for patients with both physical and behavioral health diagnoses. While providers have tried to address these issues through telehealth visits or partnering with digital health resources that provide self-directed mental health resources to clients, it has not completely offset demand, especially for those who need in-person care.

Time to Rethink Physical and Behavioral Health Integration

Integrating primary care with behavioral health has been a goal and a challenge in healthcare for years. However, Ed Jones, PhD, senior vice president for the Institute for Health and Productivity Management, notes that the movement so far has not met the high expectations. In many cases, “integration” has been interchangeable with “coordination,” which doesn’t lead to much change. The same goes for collaboration and the patient-centered health home.

Instead, Jones suggests a model that leads to fundamental, transformational changes in primary or behavioral care. That model should target the failure of primary care to address health behaviors that affect chronic medical conditions associated with a majority of healthcare costs, along with the continued stigma of seeking help for mental health concerns. A new type of provider, which Jones calls the “primary care therapist,” can help address both the issue of behavior change and stigma. Therapists may work within primary care settings to help screen, counsel, and refer patients. The full article can be found at Behavioral Health Executive.

How Has Telehealth Affected Therapy During the Pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, infection control measures and the increased demand for mental health services has led many behavioral health providers to move to telehealth. Clinicians are attempting to address a backlog of appointments, while patients deal with long waitlists to see a provider. At Aspirus Wausau Hospital, the waiting period to see a psychiatrist is 8-12 weeks, and referrals have doubled over the last year. As more providers resume in-person services, there is hope that the backlogs will decline.

Increased demand and complex client needs have created challenges for behavioral health providers. Make your practice more efficient and improve client outcomes with BestNotes’ EHR solutions, customized to your unique needs. Contact BestNotes today to learn more and schedule a free demo.

date:  May 25, 2021
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