Social Work & Mental Health

Social Work and Mental Health

The Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center of Central Texas knows that your health and well-being includes more than just doing your treatments. The burden of daily treatments, dietary requirements, financial burden, and other psychosocial needs can have a large impact on your emotional well-being. Your Adult CF Social Worker is here to help with issues such as navigating health insurance burdens, making tough decisions in regards to school, work, and home life, and helping you identify and deal with the emotional challenges you may be facing, such as depression or anxiety. 

Please reach out to the social worker for specific questions. Adult

Adult Social Worker – Jill Aeschliman, LMSW at (512) 324-9999 x86335

Pediatric Social Worker – Bobbi Jo Cardenas, LMSW at (512) 324 – 9999 x86308

Our goal is to work with you and help you create a fulfilling life that includes finding ways to maintain daily therapies, deal with emotional challenges, and even refer you to specialists to help out further.

The Importance of Mental Health 

Mental Health has shown to be a major contributing factor in overall health. This is especially true in people with a chronic illness, such as CF. A study conducted in the US and Europe showed that people with CF have higher rates of depression and anxiety, when compared with the overall population. This study led to many major changes in how CF Centers operate and approach mental health, including annual screenings for depression and anxiety. 

So what does depression and anxiety look like? What are the differences between depression and the blues? How is anxiety different from the normal worries we all have?

Depression 
Most of us are familiar with the feeling of the “blues” or feeling down. This is not to be mistaken with depression, which consists of pervasive symptoms that interfere with quality of life and sometimes the ability to function.  Generally, depression includes feeling most of following for at least a two week period:
-Depressed mood, most of the day, nearly every day
-Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, most of the time
-decrease or increase in appetite, often including changes in weight
-fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
-feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt, nearly every day
-diminished ability to think or concentrate, nearly every day
-recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, that include but are not limited to an intention and plan, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Anxiety 
All of us have felt anxiety in some way, shape, or form during our lifetime. Worrying about a test, a presentation at work, or a member of your family who is sick are common anxiety experiences we can all relate to. Anxiety becomes a problem when it starts to interfere with you quality of life. Consistently feeling: 
-Edginess or restlessness
-tiring easily, more fatigued than usual
-impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank
-irritability
-increased muscle aches or soreness
-trouble sleeping (including falling asleep and staying asleep)

Are all signs indicative of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This can begin to affect your ability to complete ordinary everyday tasks and reduces your overall pleasure in life. If you are experiencing the above symptoms on a consistent basis, please reach out to your CF Mental Health Coordinator to discuss options to help you.

Resources

There is a large financial burden that can come with Cystic Fibrosis and trying to maintain your health. This page lists some common resources you may be referred to by your Social Worker. 

Compass with CF Foundation

This is a navigational service created by the CF Foundation to help you choose the right insurance plan, finding financial resources, and connecting you to CF Foundation programs. For more information, please visit the link below:

https://www.cff.org/Assistance-Services/About-Compass/What-Is-Compass/

Healthwell Foundation

This foundation provides two different grants to help people with CF pay for medications and vitamins and supplements. Income limitations apply. Please see website for details.

https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/

CFLF Recreation Grant

The Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation providers $500 grants to people with CF to be used for exercise. This can pay for gym memberships, yoga classes, and various other physical activities. See website for more.

https://www.cflf.org/recreation-grants

Cystic Dreams Fund

This non-profit organization provides financial assistance for medical bills for people with CF. Grants can be provided to help cover visit costs. 

https://www.cysticdreamsfund.com/

Medicaid and Food Stamps

Apply for Medicaid, Food Stamps and a range of other services through the website below:

https://www.yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/Home

Central Texas Food Bank

This food bank serves the Greater Austin community and the website also provides information to find a local food bank in your area. 

https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/