July 19, 2022 | ,

Campus Philly’s Mental Health Resource Guide, Presented by Independence Blue Cross

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Welcome to the Campus Philly Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide, presented by Independence Blue Cross

Like every other form of health, mental health is a priority. There are many online and community-based mental health and wellness resources that are available to college students and young professionals in the city, so whether you are looking for resources on campus, through your insurance, or in group settings or solo-therapy practices, there are plenty of initiatives available to help you improve and maintain your mental health!  

With the help of our friends at Independence Blue Cross (IBX), and a lot of other great resources at universities throughout the city, we have created this guide just for you—all with the intention of sharing knowledge around how we can strive to keep mental wellness a priority this year, together. 

We’ll be covering a range of topics, from knowing when to get mental health support to resources that are available on your campus! Want to skip ahead to a specific topic?

Here’s what we’re covering:  

Knowing When it’s Time to Ask for Help
Understanding Your Insurance
On-Campus Support
Your Physical Health Matters
Philadelphia Community Advocates
Resources for BIPOC + LGTBQ+ Communities

Let’s do this!

Knowing When it’s Time to Ask For Help 

Let’s face it—being a student can be super stressful at times. Having to manage classes, assignments, post-grad opportunities, and socializing on top of the weight of other personal and global issues can be overwhelming. 

Sometimes we are able to bounce back from the challenges of life, but other times we may need some extra support. One of the first steps to improving or maintaining your mental health is knowing when to seek out help from those around you. Taking the time and space to assess how you are feeling and coping can help point to the signs of mental and emotional distress.

Maybe you’ve been feeling down for quite some time and can’t seem to find ways to get out of a “funk.” Sometimes, it may take a friend or family member to point out a difference in behavior or mood. No matter what the signs or symptoms are, please know that you are not alone—and that it is okay to not be okay all the time.

Here are some immediate resources that you can use or refer to a friend to determine if you are in need of some mental health support: 

  1. Take an anonymous self-assessment screening.
  2. Have a consultation call with a therapist or health professional to share your concerns.
  3. Understand and utilize a crisis chart.
  4. Reach out to one of the below numbers for more information in a specific area.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA’s National Helpline  1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text LineText START to 741-741
Addiction Hotline844-222-0553
Women Organized Against Rape215-985-3333
Domestic Violence Hotline866-723-3014 

Understanding Your Insurance 

When it comes to your mental health, having the right insurance is a necessity. Whether you have Independence Blue Cross as your insurance, or another provider, it is important to know you have options. 

How Do I Know What My Options Are?

We suggest getting an understanding of your options as early as possible. This can look like taking the time to find the healthcare providers that suit your needs and desires as soon as you begin to think about your mental health support goals. This may cut back on any waiting time and hopefully allow you to get your needs met as quickly as possible. 

The type of insurance health plan you choose determines the network of providers you can visit. Doctors and hospitals that are available in your insurance plan’s network are referred to as in-network providers. Those who are not in your plan’s network are known as out-of-network providers

Keep in mind that you may have to pay out-of-pocket costs for partial or all of your service fees if you prefer to work with a professional who is not in your network. Most insurance companies have directories that make it easy to find the right professionals and centers that fit your needs medically and financially. 

It’s also very important to know what specifically is covered in your individual plan. Check out your insurance’s FAQ page or keep a print-out of the amount of sessions available, price on co-pays, out-of-pocket costs, and any other important information so you can easily refer to it as needed.

Virtual Visits

You can visit with a doctor anytime, anywhere, with IBX’s telemedicine benefits! Virtual care, also known as Telemedicine, is offered from MDLIVE through HIPAA-secure video and phone, and a mobile app that gives you 24/7 access to care from therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who can help with concerns like anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. 

Independence Blue Cross’ MDLIVE, or other virtual platforms, are a convenient option when it’s not possible to visit your doctor’s office, retail clinic, or urgent care center in person. Plus, it may be a more cost-effective and convenient way to get the help you need! Reach out to your provider to see what virtual options are available.

Privacy Matters 

Keeping your health concerns and services private is a top priority. Independence Blue Cross takes numerous steps to ensure that your protected health information (PHI) is kept confidential. Protected health information is specifically identifiable health information about you. This information may be in oral, written, or electronic form. Independence Blue Cross and other insurance companies may obtain or create your PHI while conducting a screening to provide you with healthcare benefits.

Most health insurances, including IBX, have implemented extensive policies and procedures regarding the collection, use, and release or disclosure of your PHI. Specifically, Independence Blue Cross does not use or share your PHI to anyone without your permission, unless the law allows them to do so. This includes your parents and/or any other family members on your insurance plan! 

If you do need your PHI shared with someone, your insurance company has to obtain authorization from you through written permission. This authorization must include specific information in order to be valid. You can print a copy of an authorization form, and learn more about IBX’s privacy matters by visiting their website, or by calling the Privacy Office at 215-241-4735.

On-Campus Support

Colleges and universities usually have psychology or counseling departments where you can schedule an appointment with a therapist, join a wellness group, or learn more about mental health resources. These services are covered by your tuition, so there is no additional cost to take advantage of them. Interested in finding a therapist after graduating? Search for one on Psychology Today

There are various Philly-area colleges that utilize Instagram and other online resources to support students’ wellness, and share tangible advice and information about workshops. Check out these Instagram accounts and their prospective websites to learn more about the resources available to you on your campus:

@BeWellTU is focused on helping the Temple community understand wellness holistically. They offer virtual programming to students and host diverse mindfulness workshops. 

@WCUCounselingCenter offers amazing therapeutic resources like dog therapy, mindfulness center workshops, and group therapy sessions for students on campus! 

 @SJUCaps promotes the wellbeing of the whole person; academically, socially, physically, and spiritually. They offer a variety of outreach programs like Mindful Mornings, recovery advocacy, and nutrition breaks.

There are many more Instagram accounts and on-campus resources available to students at no cost! Stop by or reach out to your school’s counseling department to learn more about what is offered. 

Your Physical Health Matters

Being physically healthy can often directly aid in promoting a healthy mental lifestyle. Here are some ways to keep your physical health a priority.

Get Fit in the City with These Events

Get active

The Arlen Specter US Squash Center is a new facility in University City that brings together people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to learn about and enjoy the game of squash. Their Higher Ed Hits program invites professors, students, and staff members of Philadelphia-based colleges to play at the Specter Center for FREE on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays! Learn more here.

The BeWellPhilly Festival 

On June 4, join BeWellPhilly and Independence Blue Cross for a day of fitness and wellness. You can expect heart-pumping workout classes, hands-on wellness experiences, and insightful speaker sessions. Early-bird tickets are on sale now through April 22 for only $55. Register today

Center City Fit

Center City District is offering FREE workout classes at Dilworth Park starting this month until the end of summer! Classes range from Zumba to Boot Camp —what better way to exercise than with sights of the city?

Healthy Nutritious Restaurants to Try in Philly 

Photo Credit: P.S. & Co.

P.S. & Co.: Philly’s only 100% Organic, plant-based, gluten-free cafe is open for takeout, delivery, or out-door seating! P.S. & Co’s focus is to provide the cleanest, most delicious food that helps you feel incredible.

Real Food Eatery: Real Food Eatery was founded in Philly in 2016 with a simple mission: create delicious food from the highest quality ingredients possible. We suggest the Lemon Za’atar Chicken! 

Juiced By B: Located in Francesville and open 6 days a week, Juiced By B is the perfect place to grab a quick smoothie and a healthy bite before or after a workout. 

Nourish: Nourish is a plant-based restaurant and juice bar in the heart of the city. They offer a variety of delicious vegan options, raw foods, juices and sea moss smoothies. 

Managing Your Stress Levels

As a student, there can be multiple stressors in your day-to-day life. According to MayoClinic, stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can serve as a good motivator to accomplish or take action on certain things. However, multiple daily challenges can push you beyond your ability to cope in a healthy way. 

Here are some tips from the American Psychology Association that you can start implementing to keep your stress levels low. 

  • Sleep well – Getting a good night’s sleep is important. To protect shut-eye, limit screen use at night and avoid keeping digital devices in the bedroom.
  • Talk it out – Talking about stressful situations with someone you trust and depend on can help to put things in perspective and find solutions. 
  • Get outside – We suggest going for a walk along The Waterfront, hanging out in the shade at Rittenhouse Square in Center City, or going for a hike at Wissahickon Valley Park.
  • Write about it – Studies have shown that writing can help reduce mental distress and improve overall well-being. For example, writing about positive feelings—such as the things you’re grateful for—can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Community Advocates 

One of the greatest aspects of Philadelphia is that we are a city full of communities, creatives, and organizations dedicated to the betterment of those who live here.

Here you can find some Philadelphia-based mental health advocates that are doing the work and showing up to provide the best resources possible for you. 

Nicole Kenney, Founder of Hey Auntie! 

Hey Auntie! is an intergenerational wellness platform cultivating meaningful connections to support Black women at home, work, and everywhere in between.  

Today, Black women are experiencing higher rates of depression and anxiety along with other inequitable health outcomes due to stressors unique to both their racial and gender identities. Due to the lack of safe, culturally aware, and efficient resources, many Black women across generations are suffering in silence. Hey Auntie! is here and available to be an answer to this problem. 

With a strength-based approach, they are leveraging the culture and community values to provide high-quality, sensitive, and data-informed services like 1:1 and group connections, videos and tutorials, and live and virtual experiences to support women in successfully navigating their day-to-day lives both personally and professionally.

Their overall goal is to leverage the latest research, data, cultural sensitivity, and technology to weaken barriers and strengthen protective factors to empower Black women to live full, productive, and healthy lives. Read their article in the Philadelphia Inquirer and visit their website to learn more. 

William Hornby, Mental Health TikTok Influencer & Temple’ 22 grad 

William Hornby is a current senior at Temple University from Baltimore, Maryland. He has earned his BBA in Business Management and is currently working towards completing his BFA in Musical Theatre. Hornby uses his TikTok platform to represent men with eating disorders, taking the initiative to create the male eating disorder recovery content that he was not able to find when he needed it.

Eating disorders of any kind is a mental health issue worth addressing regardless of the severity of physical symptoms. With over 360K followers, William is doing the work to create a conversation around men with eating disorders and break the stigma surrounding it. 

Through Telehealth appointments with his Registered Dietician and his ED Recovery Therapist, William was able to successfully power through recovery. In a time when he needed support and representation, there weren’t any non-profits, websites, or male influencers sharing their recovery stories. With the help of his medical professional team, William began doing advocacy work through his TikTok and Instagram platforms and has been able to help so many people since starting! Learn more about his advocacy work by visiting his TikTok, Instagram, or website.

Resources Available for BIPOC & LGBTQ+ Communities 

There are various networks, collectives, and projects available for BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities. If any of these seem to be of interest, we invite you to get involved or reach out for a consultation. 

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM): This is a group aimed at removing the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional healthcare and healing. 

Inclusive Therapists: Here is a list of culturally competent and social justice-oriented therapists including some who are currently offering reduced-fee teletherapy.

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: NQTTCN works at the intersection of movements for social justice and the field of mental health to integrate healing justice into both spaces. 

The Asian Mental Health Project: Their aim is to educate and empower Asian communities seeking mental healthcare. 

The Nap Ministry: Explores and promotes the healing power of napping for BIPOC communities—with a focus on Black people—whose rest is challenged by the ever present trauma in their lives.

We R Native: An initiative for Indigenous youth sharing information about health, relationships, education, and grants. 

Many more resources can be found here.

***

There are TONS of resources and important information in this guide. Please keep this handy (and in mind!) as you continue to learn about your mental health needs and goals. 

As always, Campus Philly is here to help and support you in the best ways possible. Let’s stay connected! We would love to see all the exercise events, nutritious meals, and wellness workshops you attend this season. Be sure to follow and tag us on Instagram

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