Celebrating Counselors in April

Celebrating Counselors in April
April 2, 2024 Sue Riordan
celebrating counselors in April

April marks the start of National Counseling Awareness month. This month-long celebration, first established in 2002, recognizes the important work done by professional counselors in promoting mental health and well-being. It’s also an opportunity to learn about the benefits of counseling. Counselors are available to help you face challenges or struggles in your everyday life and become healthier. We invite you to join Meritain Health® in celebrating counselors in April!

What do counselors do?

According to the American Counseling Association (ACA), professional counselors “help people gain personal insights, develop strategies and come up with real-life solutions to the problems and challenges they face in every area of life”. As trained and credentialed professionals, they do this by getting to know their clients first. They then work to build safe, positive relationships and suggest tools and techniques clients can benefit from.

Counselors are also trained to diagnose and treat clients with mental or behavioral health issues, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or substance use disorder. However, it’s not necessary to have a formal diagnosis to benefit from mental health care. Counselors work with plenty of people simply seeking to generally improve their well-being.

Benefits of counseling

There’s also no right or wrong time to begin working with a counselor. Many people reach out when they’re overwhelmed, in distress or feeling stuck. But counselors  also offer guidance for everyday life situations. These can include things you go through in your life such as relationship issues, financial worries, stress from work or illness, grief, transitional events or other day-to-day concerns. There are many benefits of speaking to a counselor to discuss things you’re facing. Some of these include finding methods to:

    • Improve your communication and interpersonal skills.
    • Get relief from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions.
    • Feel greater self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-esteem.
    • Learn to manage your stress and emotions more effectively.
    • Identify coping skills to handle difficult situations.
    • Take steps to set and reach your goals.
Ways you can connect with a counselor

There’s a multitude of ways you can connect to a counselor or therapist when you’re ready. You can search for one  through their private practice, an employee assistance program (EAP), a government agency, a community-based setting, online therapy apps and more.

You can even begin at your local pharmacy. For instance, MinuteClinic®, available through CVS Health®, offers behavioral health and wellness services for in-person and virtual care. You can start here to receive a depression screening or talk to a licensed therapist about symptoms you’re experiencing.

Also, remember, if you or someone you know needs critical assistance or support, help is available by dialing 988 to connect to a crisis or suicide counselor.

How to get started

When you’re ready to connect with a counselor, here are five tips to help you get started:

    • Decide what you’d like help with.
    • Use your provider directory to find in-network counselors.
    • Determine if you’d like to try in-person or virtual care.
    • Talk to friends, family members and coworkers to gain referrals.
    • Try three to five sessions to start with.
Join us in celebrating counselors in April and every day

At Meritain Health, we recognize the important role counselors play in improving health and well-being.

Using our plans, members gain access to counselors through programs and providers such as the ones listed below. Availability and eligibility will depend on plan setup, but we’re proud to work with:

Our members can also find over 370,000 behavioral health specialists and health care professionals within the Aetna® network. In-network providers are searchable after logging in at meritain.com or by going to www.aetna.com/docfind/custom/mymeritain.

We salute counselors for their hard work in improving mental health each and every day. Please join us in celebrating counselors in April and all throughout the year.

For more information on counseling support available to our members, contact us!

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.