Greetings AFSPA Family,
Good physical health leaves a person feeling better in the long term. As the American Heart Association puts it, “Physical activity boosts mental wellness.” This month, I want to concentrate on these topics, which align with this year’s theme of Physical Health Leads to Better Mental Wellness, A Link to a Healthier You.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now is a good time to pause, reflect, and remember that you are not alone. Nearly one in five Americans live with a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That includes any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders, etc. BUT – many of us have MILD concerns that affect our emotional, psychological and social well-being – or everyday activities. Do you get angry or upset easily? Are you anxious for no apparent reason? Do you feel “down” a lot? Mental WELLNESS is about addressing these concerns before they become a larger part of your life.
I want to remind you of the mental wellness programs we offer to members enrolled in the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) that can help with these conditions. In addition, FSBP covers various mental health and substance use disorder benefits, including access to telehealth services, where you can receive virtual counseling from psychologists and therapists. Your primary care physician or your child’s pediatrician is a perfect place to start a conversation about stress levels and possible mental health issues. A medical expert can advise your next steps, including a conversation with a behavioral health expert.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. Millions of people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. That is why it is essential to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. Schedule your annual physical exam and biometric screening visits with your doctor, if you haven’t already. FSBP will reward you with $100 (wellness incentive) upon completion of these exams. In addition, FSBP offers heart health programs, including our Remote Hypertension Monitoring Program offered by Livongo, designed for those who may be at risk for heart disease. Learn more about FSBP’s wellness programs and how you can earn more wellness rewards along the way.
May is also National Physical Fitness Month. Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health, and decrease the chance of type 2 diabetes. You don’t have to join a gym or spend a lot of money buying fancy exercise equipment to be active. The weather is finally getting nicer, so this is the perfect time to head outside for your daily activity. Try aiming to complete 5,000-7,000 steps per day or at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Remember, any activity is better than none. Your body will thank you!
Members enrolled in FSBP can earn wellness rewards by tracking their physical activity. You can track your physical activity by connecting your activity device or by manually entering steps in the tracker activity at Myactivehealth.com/FSBP. Once you log on to the Aetna secure member website, go to “Earn and Track Well-being rewards” under Health and Wellness. Select “Rewards” at the top of the page, then select “Your Trackers” under “My Health.” To connect your activity device, select “Get Connected” on the landing page.
National Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week is celebrated each year, beginning on Mother’s Day, to encourage women to make their health a priority. Women have unique health conditions such as pregnancy and menopause which contribute to physical, emotional, hormonal, and behavioral health changes. FSBP offers various support programs designed to address these unique situations. Learn more about these programs here. We will be posting a blog later this month where we will dive into understanding the stages and challenges of menopause at afspa.org/blogs. Also, don’t forget that you can earn wellness rewards after completing your mammogram and cervical cancer screenings.
In honor of Women’s Health Week, AFSPA, along with our partners from Prudential, is offering two FREE webinars on May 10th and May 17th. Both are tailored to the unique challenges women face when planning for retirement, including saving strategies and how to meet financial goals. Both webinars will be offered during three separate session times: 8 am, 1 pm, and 6 pm ET. You can register at afspa.org/events. While I’m on the subject of Women’s Health, I would like to wish all mothers and mother figures a Happy Mother’s Day on May 14th. Your efforts, care, and love do not go unnoticed.
Last but not least, please continue to connect with us to learn more about how you can maximize your benefits and coverage through our blogs, weekly podcasts, social media platforms, and our free educational webinars. You can also read past issues of our newsletters on our website, which consist of Plan updates and other important health topics and information.
I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekend with your family and friends, as we remember the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. As always, thank you for being a valued member and for your continued confidence in our ability to serve you and your family.
To Your Health,
Paula S. Jakub, RHU