Take control of holiday stress

Take control of holiday stress

December 2, 2020

Sometimes we tend to forget that the holidays happen at the same time every year. Even when we do plan ahead, holiday stress can sneak up on us. Stressful holiday events will happen—such as shopping lists in the middle of a health pandemic, but here’s the exciting thing: you get to choose how you respond to those events. How you think about health and wellness, dealing with social isolation, and even financial challenges all begins with your mindset.

All Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP) health plans are equipped to help participants. As a GBP participant, you have the following emotional support and mental health benefits available at this time.

  • The HealthSelectSM plans administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) provide you and your covered family members with options for mental health care. Call a Personal Health Assistant at (800) 252-8039 (TTY: 711). You can also schedule mental health virtual visits with Doctor on Demand and MDLIVE. Mental health virtual visits are available at no cost to HealthSelect participants through December 31, 2020.
woman with her arm around man's shoulder
  • Additional holiday mental health resources for HealthSelect participants include:
    • Large mental health provider network: In September, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) began managing mental health benefits for HealthSelect of Texas® and Consumer Directed HealthSelectSM participants, replacing Magellan Healthcare®. With this change, as HealthSelect participant, you gained access to about 10,000 additional providers not previously contracted with Magellan. This more than doubles the number of mental health providers available to you. What’s more, you now have just one company to call for medical and mental health benefits questions and one website to visit to view your claims.
    • Crisis Line: If you or a covered dependent is facing a crisis related to mental health or substance use, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By calling (800) 252-8039 (TTY:711) (the same number you call for medical and mental health benefits questions) you can speak with a mental health clinician. If the situation is life-threatening, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.
  • Scott and White Care Plans can provide you with options on mental health benefits and providers. Call a customer care advocate at (800) 321-7947 (TTY: 711) for more information. Prior authorizations and copays apply. 
  • Community First Health Plans offer network mental health benefits. Call a member service representative at (210) 358-6100 (TTY: 711), log into the member portal or review the plan website and FAQs for more information.
  • OptumRx, the HealthSelectSM Prescription Drug Program administrator, has its Emotional Support Help Line—staffed by mental health professionals—open to anyone who may be experiencing fear or stress during the pandemic. Call (866) 342-6892 (TTY: 711), free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This help line is available to anyone, so you can share it with family and friends. Caring professionals may also connect callers to additional resources.

mother and daughter huggingYou might also consider joining ERS' monthly wellness webinars to learn about wellness topics and stay focused on what matters most: you and your family’s health and well-being. You can register for events like our new “Address Your Stress” webinar through the ERS Wellness Events Calendar.

Refusing to let stress run your life is a daily choice. Remember to be gracious with yourself and the people you care about. Spend your time on what really matters to you. By taking back control of your attitude and managing the millions of little expectations you place on yourself, you can reduce your holiday stress and get your mind and heart in a good place.