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Mental health support in Health Insurance – Breaking the stigma

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An online survey conducted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) showed that almost every person will experience some type of mental illness in their lifetime. The stigma surrounding mental health makes it hard for people to come forward and seek help.

This article will touch on how health insurance helps in breaking the stigma around mental health by the introduction of mental health support. Before we look into that, lets first investigate the stigmas around mental health.


What are the stigmas around mental health?

Cultural stigma around mental health is one of the most common stigmas. In most cultures, having mental health issues is associated with spiritual challenges and that has made it hard for people to disclose.
The stigma around mental health comes in many forms



This type of stigma is influenced by beliefs usually associated with ethnic groups with a belief that mental health issues do not exist or that they are something else other than what they are



Public stigma includes societal attitudes on mental health, often subtly encouraging negative perceptions or presenting stereotypes as facts



This type of stigma is influenced by public stigma. Because of public perception, you may end up feeling like a weakling for needing mental health support.



Label avoidance happens when you distance yourself from a stigmatized group. For example, you may reject treatment to avoid getting a diagnosis.


Health practitioner

Health practitioner stigma happens when a healthcare professional’s lets their beliefs, race, gender, or other stereotypes get in the way of their ability to provide effective care.
All these types of stigmas involve assigning people with certain traits and can have harmful effects on mental health.

Most people who need mental health support keep to themselves because they fear being exposed if they ever talk to someone. That is why it is important to break the stigma by understanding the need for mental health support, the role of medical insurance in this and protection of information.


Understanding the need for mental health support

Life has proven to be a rollercoaster. It is always throwing us in different directions and often, pulling ourselves together is a mission. But by understanding we are not alone, we can win the fight.

Let’s look at how our home and work lives impact our mental health and why we need to have access to mental health support.



Your life at home is the root of how you live life. Sometimes, those roots are threatened by situations like death, divorce, abuse or any other reason that may cause a big shift in your life.

When there is a big shift in your home life, you may experience unwanted emotions that result in you behaving or performing in a different manner. For example, when parents are going through separation or divorce, it will not just affect their lives. Kids may have trouble in their social or school life because of this new shift caused by circumstances.



As a working professional, your workplace is like your second home. You spend hours in that environment every day, so it needs to be a safe space for you mentally. Without a mental health support structure, you may feel overwhelmed and unhappy. This could be a result of work frustrations, home situations, unresolved or mounting misunderstandings with co-workers, and feeling undervalued.

Your productivity at work is dependent on your overall health. You can agree, it becomes hard to focus on work or perform to the best of your abilities if your mind is occupied by thoughts. Sometimes, you go through slumps which may make you feel worthless in your line of work. Some situations can even have impact on your physical health making it impossible for you to fulfil your duties.

The workplace essentially plays a huge role in finding a way forward to mental health issues and both employers and employees have a duty to create and develop a better understanding of pressing topics like mental health. That is why it is important to invest in health insurance policies that covers mental health.


Breaking down the stigma of mental health in health insurance

Modern health insurance providers have made it a mission to include mental health in their benefits. This allows you as a policy member to have support and have a professional who can help with mental health support.

Understandably, the stigma on mental health makes it hard for anyone to come forward and seek any type of help. That is why some insurance providers have options for virtual counselling to help those who may need help but not ready to face a counsellor. The options are meant to put everyone at ease and make it easier for them to open up and get the help they need.

Some providers make it a mission to fight the stigma on mental health by involving all family members, with benefits tailored for children and parents. There are channels open for children to get help and counselling on issues that affect their mental health like bullying, life at home, and more. While there are also channels for parents to tackle issues surrounding life changes, parenting and more.


Overcoming pain points (Affordability & coverage complexity)

One of the most common stigmas on mental health is the costs. How many times have you heard someone swearing they will never pay someone to listen to them? The truth is the cost of mental health support is a contributing factor to the reasons people do not seek help.

Fortunately, with some Medical Insurance providers, there is a relationship between mental health and insurance. There are providers that have plans which include mental health. This means you kill two birds with one stone as you get coverage for your physical health and your mental health. You can pay roughly under R500 and receive mental health support for different types of challenges.


Privacy and Confidentiality

If there is one factor that will always play a huge role in the stigma on mental health- it is privacy and confidentiality. It is hard to trust people with your problems because of judgements you may receive. This is what some providers in the Medical Insurance industry put in mind.

With your privacy in mind, providers work with registered counsellors to ensure that you get the help you need with a person who understands your right to privacy. You need not worry about hearing your problems being publicized or discussed anywhere else.


Silence is not always golden!

You may know of someone who suffered from mental health issues and how they struggle getting help with the fear of being stigmatized. But health insurance has made it easier to fight these stigmas by showing us- we all need a little help sometimes.

Not all Medical Insurance plans are the same and benefits as well as limitations may vary. Descriptions of benefits given are meant to be for general educational purposes only and you must ensure that you seek the advice of a broker to ensure any product choice you make suits your individual needs.

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