MBHN Members Help for Depression

Statistics show:

  • 1 in 7 Americans will suffer from a major depressive disorder in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 13 Americans ages 18 and older experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, with particular groups of divorced and separated adults having rates as high as in 1 in 8.
  • An estimated 16.5 million people ages 18 and older experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Only about 65% received any treatment, the majority of whom saw a doctor and received a prescription. 

Source SAMHSA report on Major Depressive Episode and Treatment among Adults released in May 2009.

Our experience indicates that major depression is one of the leading behavioral health conditions that our health plan members encounter both in outpatient and inpatient care.  In order to improve the outcomes for persons suffering from major depressive disorders, New Avenues has established an outreach program to support members in their recovery process.

We want members to have tools and support to help reach a healthy quality of life. That means experiencing a reduction in symptoms and distress related to depression, and experiencing a better daily personal, family and work life. In order to achieve these outcomes, New Avenues provides a personal Care Manager to assist each member participating in the program at no cost.

The Depression Disease Management Program features:

  • A Care Manager- a personalized service at no cost to the member.
    The Care Manager is available to answer questions, coordinate care, and to ensure that all authorizations for treatment and benefit coverage are in place. The Care Manager helps each member set goals to achieve recovery. These goals might be: finding a therapist that one trusts and is comfortable seeing; keeping regular appointments with one’s doctors, taking medications as prescribed, adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Each member receives pertinent mailings such as:
  1. Tools to get the most out of your treatment – examples are Questions to Ask My Doctor, Keeping a Medication Log, setting my Goals for Recovery…
  2. Understanding one’s condition: information about Depression
  3. Dealing with stress and knowing how to cope with worries.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: information about sleep, exercise, nutrition, and staying active.
  • Coordination of care with member’s treating providers and primary care physician.
  • Respect for member’s privacy. Although family and friends may be concerned and are an important source of support, the Care manager may speak only with the individual(s) for whom the member has given written permission. Consent forms and an Authorization for Release of Information will be sent to the member to complete. Forms may also be found on the New Avenues website under Maintaining Member Privacy.

What have members told us?

A member who was appreciative for the help and guidance she received, told the Member Services Specialist;

“I think that you people saved my life.” In particular she said that “Vickie had always tried to help me (going above and beyond) and did whatever she could to get me some help. I want to thank everyone for all that you have done for me but particularly Vickie in helping me so much. Hats off to everyone there and thank you so much.”

If you are wondering about Depression and Treatment - here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

What is depression?

Depression is a medical illness, and it is finally starting to get the respect it deserves as an illness. Depression primarily affects the emotional centers of the brain, "depressing" their ability to experience a normal range of feelings, particularly those associated with pleasure, happiness and motivation. Theses areas of the brain, through their connection to the rest of the nervous system, all of the body's organs, and the immune system, disrupt many of the body's physical functions as well. It's important to remember that depression is not just a bad mood or a sign of poor coping. Depression doesn't just feel bad: it's bad for your whole body.

What causes depression?

Just about anyone can develop depression under the right conditions.

As with any illness, susceptibility to it varies enormously from person to person. You are born with some degree of genetic vulnerability to it. Later, your childhood experiences, particularly your interactions with parents in the early years of life, but also your experiences later with peers, altered the wiring in your brain so as to make it easier or harder for you to get depressed. Traumas, losses, and life stresses may have added to the burden. Close, supportive relationships, meaningful work, exercise, and a good diet help protect against depression, while their absence makes it more likely.

Are stress and depression related?

Yes. In fact, stress and depression can worsen each other through a feedback loop. For example, enough stress can lead to depression; depression, through fatigue, loss of motivation, difficulty thinking and hopelessness, leads to more stress. Both stress and depression lead to disturbed sleep; sleep deprivation can produce or worsen depression. Both sleep deprivation and depression weaken immune function. The result can be an increase in the risk of both minor illnesses like colds and flu, and major conditions like heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Can treatment really make a difference?

Depression is treatable. Don't be afraid of being "labeled" as depressed, because depression can be cured. But it can't be treated at all unless it is identified. So if you suspect that you may have depression, you can go to the Healthy Answers sections of the website to gain insight into your condition and learn what to do, both on your own and with the help of the right kind of health professionals, to beat it. Talk to your primary care doctor about your concerns.


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