US Family Health Plan eNews 2023: Issue 1

Posted 02/22/23
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For more of eNews Member Newsletter


  • Suicide Prevention: Talking about It Could Save a Life
  • An Ounce of Prevention Can Make All the Difference
  • Keep Your Heart Healthy for the Years Ahead
  • Mental Health & Our Kids
  • March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • Your Voice Matters! Please Complete Our Survey
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    Suicide Prevention: Talking about It Could Save a Life 

    Talking about suicide is very important if you're worried someone may be considering ending their life. You may be afraid that discussing suicide will make it more likely to happen. In fact, talking about it can reduce the risk of suicide. Feeling connected to others can help protect people from suicide.


    It may not be easy, but an open, supportive conversation can be a lifeline for a person who's thinking about taking their life. When you're ready to have this talk, follow these steps.

    • Don't be afraid to be direct. You might say, "I'm worried about you. Are you thinking about suicide?" They may be relieved to talk about it. Encourage them to talk about why they feel this way. Accept that their feelings are real. Try to stay calm, don’t judge or argue with them. 
    • Be a good listener. Pay close attention, make eye contact, and don't interrupt. When they're finished, ask questions to make sure you understand what they said. Repeat what you heard, including anything they mentioned that makes their life worth living.
    • Ask if they have a plan. This may feel scary to talk about, but it's important to know. Have they set a date or chosen a location? Do they have any weapons, pills, or other means of suicide? Have they tried to hurt themself before? The answers can help you assess the danger. The more detailed their plan, the higher the risk. But take all talk of suicide seriously.
      If they have a plan to harm themself or someone else, get help right away. Call 911 or take them to an emergency room.
    • Offer your help. You might be able to:
    • Encourage them to get professional help. Urge them to call their doctor, a mental health professional, or a crisis hotline. Don't agree to keep this talk a secret. It may not feel right, but the person‘s life may be at risk, and they need more support than one person can give.
    • Follow up on your talk. Call or visit soon or send a text or an email. You might offer to drop off food or go for a walk with them. Staying in touch shows you care and helps them feel valued and supported.

    • Talking or writing about wanting to die or to hurt or kill themselves or someone else.
    • Saying they feel hopeless, trapped, without purpose, in pain, or like they're a burden.
    • Looking for ways to harm themselves. They may buy a gun or stockpile medicines.
    • Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs.
    • Withdrawing from family, friends, and activities.
    • Seeming angry, grumpy, anxious, or depressed.
    • Eating or sleeping less or more than usual.
    • Doing risky things, like driving too fast.
    • Giving away their belongings.


    If you or someone you know talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. You can:


    A care manager can also help address ongoing behavioral health needs. If you would like to speak to a Martin’s Point behavioral health care manager about our free care management program, call 1-877-659-2403d.

    Learn more about ways to support the mental health of adults and children on our website at


    An Ounce of Prevention Can Make All the Difference

    Making sure you get recommended preventive care is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your health.  For your convenience, you can download handy checklists (links below) to help you stay on top of the screenings and vaccines recommended to keep and/or your child healthy.

    You can also keep track of your medications to make sure you are reviewing them with your providers and taking them as directed.  If you have any questions about your care or your medications, please contact your PCP.

    Adult Preventive Care Checklist and Medication Tracker (PDF)

    Pediatric Preventive Care Checklist and Vaccine Tracker (PDF)



    Keep Your Heart Healthy for the Years Ahead

    Heart and vascular (blood vessel) diseases are the leading causes of disability and death for adults in the US. It’s important to understand what you can do to reduce your risk of developing these conditions, or to help stay as healthy as possible if you already have a cardiovascular condition.

    Check out helpful information about common diseases of the heart and vascular system, including overviews, risk factors, management, and commonly prescribed medications on our Heart & Vascular Health webpage!


    Mental Health & Our Kids

    Mental health disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day. Some of the most common mental health disorders that can be diagnosed in childhood are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders.


    Early warning signs to look for include:

    • Sadness that lasts two or more weeks
    • Avoiding social interactions
    • Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself, death, or suicide
    • Outbursts or extreme irritability, drastic changes in mood, behavior, or personality
    • Out-of-control behavior that can be harmful
    • Changes in eating habits, weight loss
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    • Frequent headaches or stomachaches
    • Avoiding school, changes in academic performance

    Risk factors for self-harm and suicide may include:

    • Major life-changing events: death of a loved one, a breakup or divorce, any trauma
    • Peer/social media pressure
    • Performance in school
    • Family substance use and abuse
    • Mental health diagnosis or symptoms
    • Medical conditions that can be linked to depression or anxiety
    • History of suicide attempts

    Early diagnosis and connection to services for children and their families can make a difference. If you're concerned about your child's mental health, talk with your child's doctor. Describe the behaviors that concern you. Talk to your child's teacher, close friends, relatives, or other caregivers to see if they've noticed changes in your child's behavior. Share this information with your child's doctor.


    Common treatment options for children with mental health conditions include: 

    Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or behavior therapy, is a way to address mental health concerns by talking with a psychologist or other mental health professional. With young children, psychotherapy may include play therapy and therapeutic games  that involve talking about what is happening while playing. During psychotherapy, children and adolescents learn how to talk about thoughts and feelings, how to respond to them, and learn new behaviors and coping skills. Research suggests that adding cognitive-behavioral or family psychotherapy to medication treatment can improve outcomes. It is recommended that this type of therapy should be attempted before medication is prescribed.

    Medication. Your child's doctor or mental health professional may recommend a medication—such as a stimulant, antidepressant, anti-anxiety medication, antipsychotic, or mood stabilizer—as part of the treatment plan. The doctor will explain risks, side effects, and benefits of drug treatments.

    Anti-Psychotics: Medication and Monitoring
    If your child or adolescent is under 18 years old and taking two or more antipsychotic medications, they can have an increased risk for developing serious health complications associated with weight gain, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

    Given these risks and the potential for lifelong consequences, they should have annual blood sugar and cholesterol testing to ensure appropriate health management. We recommend you contact the doctor who prescribes your child’s medication to request these lab tests if this is not already scheduled.

    See a List of Anti-Psychotic Drugs for which annual testing should take place.


    If your child is between 6-12 years old and has been newly prescribed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication, they should have three follow-up care visits with the prescribing doctor within a 10-month period to assure the medication is working appropriately and there are no adjustments needed:

    One follow-up visit within 30 days of when the first ADHD medication was filled
    If the child remains on the following medication over six months, they should have at least two follow-up visits within nine months.

    See a List of ADHD Drugs for which follow-up visits should take place.

    • Call 211 for information on resources in your area
    • National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988

    Martin’s Point offers care management over the phone at no cost to you.

    A care manager can connect you with resources, provide support and education. To speak with a Martin’s Point care manager, please call 1-877-659-2403.

    Resources for this article: 

    1 National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Data and Statistics on Children's Mental Health,

    2 Healthy Lifestyle, Children’s Health, Mayo Clinic, 1998-2022 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER),


    March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Are you 45 years old? Time for your screening!

    The American Cancer Society, Medicare, and TRICARE have lowered the minimum age for colorectal cancer screening from 50 to 45.

    Colorectal cancer is the second-leading killer for cancers affecting both men and women in the US. Screening guidelines have recently been updated because of an increase in the rates of colorectal cancer cases in people under the age of 50.

    Screening can prevent cancer by removing precancerous polyps and can find cancer in early stages when treatment is most effective.  Regular screening is particularly important because most people with colorectal cancer don’t have a family history of the disease and, in earlier stages of the disease, there are often no symptoms.  Testing for colorectal cancer can save your life. Talk to your doctor and screen for life.

    Colorectal cancer screenings are currently recommended for those 45-75 years old. We recommend you contact your provider to see if it’s time for your screening!

    There are several screening options for colorectal cancer with different frequencies of testing.*

    • Stool Tests
      • Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test (yearly) 
      • Fecal Immunochemical Test(FIT) (yearly) 
      • FIT-DNA (every 3 years) 
    • Visual Tests
      • Colonoscopy (every 10 years) 
      • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years)
      • CT Colonography (every 5 years) 

    *You will need a colonoscopy if any of the other screening tests come back abnormal.  You may require more frequent testing than what is indicated depending on your results and medical history.

    For more information, visit the the CDC's Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests page.



    Every year all health plans are required to seek feedback from a sample of their members using a survey.

    The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey focuses on members’ experiences in receiving health care.  It includes questions about ease of getting needed care and filling prescriptions, how well care is coordinated among providers, and rating of health care quality.

    The feedback we received from these surveys helps us improve quality. The results are also used to determine our Health Plan Ratings score. We hope you can take a few moments to complete the survey if you receive it – your voice matters!