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Help for nurses with mental illnesses

Prisnur04 Prisnur04 (New) New

Specializes in Prison healthcare. Has 10 years experience.

I am a correctional nurse (LVN) who has been diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality. My last stay in a mental hospital was in June. I feel that my medication is not helping me, though I take it exactly as I should. I was in a hypomanic state after I was released from the hospital, but now I've sunk back down into severe depression, thoughts of worthlessness, and yes, self-harm. My insurance does not cover mental health care and My inpatient bills are outlandish. I do not know where to turn. This is affecting my ability to do my job effectively, and it may be affecting my life as well...

Suffering in Texas...Emily

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

I'm sorry to hear that you're not doing well. Have you been able to tell your prescribing MD that you do not feel that your meds are working?

Prisnur04

Specializes in Prison healthcare. Has 10 years experience.

Yes, but unfortunately, she is a general practitioner and is not very familiar with my diagnoses. She's referred me to a psychiatrist, but my insurance will not pay. I was an inpatient at a mental facility when I was diagnosed, so the doctor I saw there ordered all of my meds...she simply ordered them regularly for me. She's a wonderful doctor, but I am in dyer need of psych help. I live in fear of losing my job, and that is unacceptable.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

Yes, but unfortunately, she is a general practitioner and is not very familiar with my diagnoses. She's referred me to a psychiatrist, but my insurance will not pay. I was an inpatient at a mental facility when I was diagnosed, so the doctor I saw there ordered all of my meds...she simply ordered them regularly for me. She's a wonderful doctor, but I am in dyer need of psych help. I live in fear of losing my job, and that is unacceptable.

Try your state or county mental health agencies they often have sliding scale fees for counseling and medication management. If in a recently diagnosed & discharged state nearing crisis you may be eligible for a rapid intake. If nothing else they may have a warm line in the interim for you to talk with someone who understands. Sadly though there is great need access to mental health resources is often limited or fraught with barriers.

Knowing you need help is one step towards health, healing & stability.

Does your insurance at least cover the medications you take or might need? Does insurance cover lab levels of drugs should you need monitoring for example lithium levels (should you need it)?

Good luck to you

Prisnur04

Specializes in Prison healthcare. Has 10 years experience.

Yes, fortunately my insurance does cover all prescriptions. Thank goodness.

adnrnstudent, ASN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

Go see a psych and always take your medicine. Never get off your meds no matter how well you feel. That's what I do and it works.

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

Second the idea of getting into a county mental health clinic that offers a sliding scale. Call around, emphasize that you are close to being in a crisis situation.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

You have been given some good advice. For what it's worth, I can tell you that you're not alone...I'm a retired nurse with bipolar 1 and I know what it's like to be unstable and desperate. Please spend the money and see someone who's trained to deal with bipolar. It may save your life!

Prisnur04

Specializes in Prison healthcare. Has 10 years experience.

Thank you. I'm in the process of getting some assistance right now. I'm just glad I've caught the signs of an episode in time...yay nursing!

OCNRN63, RN

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

Go see a psych and always take your medicine. Never get off your meds no matter how well you feel. That's what I do and it works.

OP has posted that she has no coverage or funds for a psychiatrist, and that her current medication regimen is inadequate. While she certainly shouldn't stop her current medications, she needs a different plan of care.

OCNRN63, RN

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

Thank you. I'm in the process of getting some assistance right now. I'm just glad I've caught the signs of an episode in time...yay nursing!

I wish you well and hope you can get some help from your state or county mental health agency.

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Also keep in mind that therapy can be life changing especially for personality disorders. If you can secure a therapist who does DBT that would be ideal if not there are books and workbooks you can do while attending any type of therapy. Good luck.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Moved to Nurses with Disabilities

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I thought Obamacare fixed the disparity between medical care and mental health services. I can see an insurance company limiting visits to psychiatrists and therapists, but how does yours get away with failing to cover them at all?

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

I thought Obamacare fixed the disparity between medical care and mental health services. I can see an insurance company limiting visits to psychiatrists and therapists, but how does yours get away with failing to cover them at all?

Self-funded plans are exempted from mental health parity laws

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

Thank you.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

(I honestly believe that's why my former employer chose self funded plans then leaped at the loophole in ACA to cheap out and only offer bare bones "minimum essential coverage")

Caitlin023

Specializes in Long Term Care and Dementia / Alzheimers. Has 11 years experience.

I hate to say this, but if you are feeling that terrible, you might want to consider taking a leave of absence, cutting back your work hours, or quitting your job altogether. I know this is not always feasible, but may enable you to gain benefits through Medicaid/ Obamacare temprorarily, which would allow you to see the healthcare providers you need to and sort out which meds might work for you. As long as you stay on good terms with your current employer, they may give you your position back. I've seen in happen before. Otherwise, you may run the risk of your condition deteriorating or getting "in trouble" at your current job if you're in a condition where you're not able to provide quality patient care. I know everyone says this, but really, its true that you have to take care of yourself in order to provide good care for your patients! I hope it all works out for you!

SouthernPsy

Specializes in Psychiatric.

Go to a psychiatrist or psych np. I know you said insurance doesn't cover it, but you simply must stay well to keep your job. Like others have said, some therapists and psych docs have sliding scales.

I'd also consider the stressors of your job. Do you think that environment or stress level affects your mental health? If so, switching jobs may help, especially if the new employer offers better insurance that covers psych Tx.

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