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Health Break: Digital tools for your mental health

Person smiling while looking out of a window, with the text of "Digital tools for your mental health" on the image.

A podcast for UPMC Health Plan members, Health Break is your quick guide to caring for your mental and physical health, prioritizing wellness, and making the most of your health insurance plan.

Episode 20: Take a Health Break with Laura Francis

Laura takes a Health Break with us to discuss the free digital tools members can use to support their mental and behavioral health. 


Episode transcript:

Camille: Welcome to Health Break by UPMC Health Plan, your quick guide to health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan. Listen during your coffee break, lunch break, or anytime you need a break. I’m your host, Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith. I help to oversee the quality of the plans we offer at UPMC Health Plan.

Alex: And I’m your co-host, Alex Treanor. I’m a senior health coach who works with our members on healthy lifestyle habits and goals. This is your… Health Break.

Alex: Hey everyone! I’m Alex Treanor. Today Laura Francis will discuss how free digital tools for our members can support mental health and well-being.

Welcome, Laura

Laura: Thanks for having me today.

Alex: Can you start by explaining, what is mental health and why is our mental health important?

Laura: Well, mental health refers to the emotional wellness—the psychological wellness, as well as the social wellness of a person’s mind and spirit. And it’s important because if a person is feeling overwhelmed and their mental health is unbalanced, that can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. However, through engaging in healthy habits like exercise, good nutrition, and managing stress, we can maintain or improve our mental health.

Alex: Mental health really has a lot of components. What kind of tools and programs are available to UPMC Health Plan members to support our mental health?

Laura: Yeah. UPMC Health Plan has several tools that can support our members’ mental health. The first thing that comes to mind is RxWell. RxWell is a digital app that’s free to Health Plan members ages 16 and older. It includes proven self-guided activities supported by a digital health coach through text messaging. There are programs for stress, depression, anxiety, as well as lifestyle-focused programs for nutrition, weight management, physical activity, tobacco cessation. It’s very easy to enroll. Members can just download RxWell from the [Apple] app store or Google Play store.

Members can also engage with health coaches for lifestyle support telephonically or virtually through UPMC AnywhereCare. And at the Health Plan, we also have licensed professional behavioral health care managers who can provide mental health education, support, and care coordination telephonically. So for example, if you want help managing depression, you can work with a behavioral health clinician who will educate you about the symptoms of depression and things that you can do to manage your depression.

For example, practicing gratitude can help lessen depressive symptoms. So the behavioral health clinician may work with you to set a goal, to maybe write down three things every day that you’re grateful for. And this can help retrain your brain to think more positively. If a person needs treatment, the behavioral health clinician can help them get connected.

In addition, some UPMC [Health Plan] members can also access virtual counseling sessions through LifeSolutions on UPMC AnywhereCare, or they can work with them telephonically or in person. Not all services are covered by all plans, so you can check with Member Services or call LifeSolutions’ national service center to see if your plan covers that service.

Alex: Thank you so much, Laura, for taking a Health Break with us today.

Laura: And thanks for having me.

Alex: Start exploring these and other tools to support your mental health.

Find show notes and more information at Join us as we explore other health and wellness topics in the next episode of Health Break.
This podcast is for informational and educational purposes. It is not medical care or advice. Individuals in need of medical care should consult their personal care provider. Views and opinions expressed by the hosts and guests are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of UPMC Health Plan and its employees.

About Laura Francis: 

Laura Francis has more than 25 years of behavioral health experience working in community mental health and managed care settings. Presently, she is Director of Behavioral Health Clinical Programs  at UPMC Health Plan, where she manages the behavioral health coaching and case management team and is responsible for program development focused on supporting the emotional health and wellness of UPMC Health Plan members. Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a licensed social worker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

About Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith: 

Camille Clarke-Smith, EdD, is a program director in the Quality Improvement, Medicare Stars Department at UPMC Health Plan, where she leads the Medicare Faith and Wellness Program, a 3- to 12-week health and wellness challenge. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Transforming the Health of African American Women (THAW) Inc. She earned a doctorate in health and physical activity education from the University of Pittsburgh in addition to a master’s in exercise science and a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Carlow University. 

About Alex Treanor: 

Alex Treanor is a lead health coach at UPMC Health Plan. As a lifestyle health coach, she specializes in helping you lose weight, eat healthy, get more physical activity, be less stressed, and quit tobacco. Alex has a master’s in Kinesiology, Integrative Wellness from Point Loma Nazarene University. She has been coaching since 2014 and is a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Certified Personal Trainer. Alex is passionate about helping people improve their relationship with food and exercise while creating healthy, sustainable routines filled with enjoyment. Alex enjoys spending time with her husband, walking with her dog, and eating tacos in the sunshine.

*Members who are in Pennsylvania at the time of a virtual visit may select a UPMC-employed provider, subject to availability and discretion of the provider. Members located outside of Pennsylvania at the time of service or those who select Talk Therapy or Psychiatry services will receive care from a provider employed or contracted by Online Care Network II PC (OCN), also known as Amwell Medical Group. It is at the discretion of OCN providers to choose whether to treat patients ages 0 to 2. OCN is not an affiliate of UPMC. Limitations may apply for members of ASO plans who have opted out of coverage. Talk Therapy or Psychiatry services through AnywhereCare are not covered services for UPMC Community HealthChoices participants, UPMC for You members, or UPMC for Kids members. UPMC Children’s AnywhereCare is not available outside of Pennsylvania. If a member is under the age of 18, the member’s parent or legal guardian must be with the member during the video portion of the visit, and the child and parent or legal guardian must be in Pennsylvania during the visit. Providers are not available to treat members who are in Puerto Rico.