May is Mental Health Month, which seeks to highlight the fundamental connection between mental and physical health, and the importance of mental health on all aspects of a patient’s overall well-being. On the website for the organization Mental Health America, you can download the Mental Health Month 2018 toolkit to access a range of materials on mental health, its connection to a multitude of physical conditions, and ways to help patients lead optimal lifestyles for the health of both body and mind.
Alternative treatments for pain
In light of Mental Health Month, Harvard Pilgrim would like to call attention to some alternative health benefits and resources we make available to members and providers — focusing especially on pain management.
With opioid addiction remaining a severe problem throughout the country, many patients are wary of taking opioids to manage their acute and chronic pain. (See this article from last month’s issue of Network Matters to learn more about how Harvard Pilgrim and Optum/United Behavioral Health can help with referrals and treatment for patients suffering from substance use disorder.)
Harvard Pilgrim offers non-medication alternative treatments that may help relieve pain, such as acupuncture and cognitive behavioral therapy. Both of these treatments have shown promise in treating a variety of issues — like chronic headaches, neck pain, low back pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis, and in relieving side effects from chemotherapy — without the risks associated with medications and surgery.
For more information about the use of acupuncture and cognitive behavioral therapy for treating pain, as well as the specific benefits Harvard Pilgrim and Optum/United Behavioral Health can offer your patients, refer to this article from the May 2017 issue of Network Matters.
Mindfulness resources for providers
The practice of mindfulness has been shown to help many patients seeking an alternative source of relief from an array of physical and mental conditions, like depression, anxiety, and acute and chronic pain. Harvard Pilgrim maintains a dedicated Mindfulness for Providers page on our website, with links to organizations, research labs, university departments, and research studies and articles dedicated to mindfulness practices for patients and providers alike.
How Optum/UBH can help your patients — For complex clinical situations, Optum/UBH is available to provide consultative assistance. Practitioners can call the Optum/UBH Physicians Consultation Service at 800-292-2922. To refer a patient for behavioral health services and to facilitate the coordination of care, call Optum at 888-777-4742.