Support for Mental Health or Substance Use

Behavioral health refers to the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Behavioral health issues are common, and you don’t need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a behavioral health provider. Read on to learn more about different types of mental health and substance use disorders and treatments. Learn how to find and access virtual care providers for Behavioral Health services. When you’re ready to find a provider to help, use our Find a Doctor tool to search for in-network options.

Mental Health

Mental health concerns may impact someone’s thinking, feeling, or mood. They can also affect interactions with others, daily functions, and decision-making. Common mental health conditions include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Emotional troubles or concerns are not uncommon and are worth asking about. If any of the disorders described on this page sound like something you or someone you love might be experiencing, it will be helpful to speak with:

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, get help now. Call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The lifeline provides free, confidential support 24/7.

  • Anxiety

    While feeling anxious from time to time is normal for most people, when those feelings turn into intense fear and distress, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. Anxiety is a highly treatable problem.

    Anxiety has both emotional and physical symptoms. 

    Emotional symptoms can include:

    • Feelings of apprehension or dread
    • Feeling tense or jumpy
    • Restlessness or irritability
    • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger


    Physical symptoms can include:

    • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
    • Sweating, tremors, and twitches
    • Headaches, fatigue, and insomnia
    • Upset stomach, frequent urination, or diarrhea


    Types of anxiety include:

    • General anxiety disorder
    • Social anxiety disorder
    • Panic disorder
    • Phobias

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    ADHD is a common disorder that affects children and adults. Recent studies show that almost 10% of children between the ages of 4 and 7 have been diagnosed with ADHD.* 

    There are three common symptoms of ADHD. These symptoms can interfere with everyday functioning and development. Symptoms include: 

    • Difficulty paying attention or staying focused 
    • Being overactive or having trouble sitting still 
    • Impulsivity (acting without thinking first)

    Most children with ADHD will have all three symptoms. However, some children with ADHD only have hyperactivity and impulsivity. Others only have challenges with attention or staying focused. 


    Treating ADHD

    A treatment plan developed with your child’s doctor can help improve functioning. Improved functioning can help at home, school, and in social situations.

    Treatment plans may include therapy and/or prescribed medications. The right dose of the right medication has been shown to improve symptoms of ADHD.

    The prescribing doctor must closely
    monitor c
    hildren taking medications to treat ADHD.
    If your child is prescribed a medication to treat ADHD, regular follow-up appointments are important. Follow-up appointments allow your doctor to identify potential side effects and ensure your child receives the full benefit from the medications. Your doctor may also ask about your child’s sleep, appetite and may check their height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. As your child grows, your doctor may adjust the medications to make sure your child is getting the maximum benefit.

    We recommend
    that children who are prescribed medications to treat ADHD:

    • See the doctor who prescribed the medication for a follow-up appointment within 30 days of filling ADHD-related prescriptions.
    • See any doctor two more times within the next nine months for ADHD follow-up visits.

    Visit the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s website to learn more about ADHD. Or read Understanding ADHD (also available in Spanish) to learn more about treatment and follow-up for children diagnosed with ADHD.

    *According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that starts in early childhood. It can cause significant communication, social, and behavioral challenges for children. 

    Behavior challenges can also be caused by other underlying issues common in children with ASD, such as emotional, communication or sensory difficulties, or medical issues. All underlying issues must be considered during a comprehensive evaluation. 

    There currently is no cure for ASD, but there are many treatments to help children lead healthy, happy lives. Members diagnosed with ASD should receive the recommended evaluations so MVP can process requests for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment. 

    Recommended evaluations include: 

    • A physical with your child’s doctor 
    • An evaluation by Early Intervention or your school’s Committee on Preschool and School Education (CPSE) 

    If your child is living with ASD and has other medical, behavioral, or developmental concerns, your child’s ABA provider and other doctors should work together to best support your child’s overall health. 


    Resources for Parents 

  • Children and Teens

    Children and teens can show many of the signs of mental health concerns listed on this page, including depression and anxiety. If you think your child may be struggling, it’s important to get help right away. Talk with their pediatrician or family doctor, or find a behavioral health provider who can help.

    These resources may be helpful for parents: 

  • Choosing a Mental Health Provider
    If you or a loved one needs a mental health provider, you may not be sure where to start. You don’t need a referral from your PCP to see a behavioral health provider but talking with your PCP is a good first step. They can help you identify if there is a problem and the type of provider that may be right for you. Different types of behavioral health providers include:

    Psychiatrist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication to treat mental illness.

    Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: Advanced practice registered nurse with a specialty certification in psychiatry. A psychiatric nurse practitioner can prescribe medication to treat mental illness.

    Psychologist: A behavioral health professional with an advanced degree who evaluates a person’s mental health through discussion, interviews, evaluations, and testing. A psychologist can make diagnoses but cannot prescribe medications to treat mental illness.

    Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): A health care professional who is trained to evaluate a person’s mental health and help them find emotional wellness. Working with a LMHC often leads to symptom reduction and better ways of feeling and thinking.

    Clinical Social Worker: A licensed or certified professional who is trained to evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques to help. They are also trained in case management and advocacy services. 

    Find a behavioral health provider.
  • Depression

    Feelings of sadness or grief are normal emotions that people experience from time to time. Major depression, however, is a serious mood disorder that impacts daily life. Depression causes long-lasting, severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. 

    Someone who is experiencing some of these signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, may be suffering from depression: 

    • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood 
    • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt 
    • Irritability 
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities 
    • Decreased energy or fatigue 
    • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still 
    • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions 
    • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping 
    • Appetite and/or weight changes 
    • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts 

    Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment 

    Not everyone who is depressed has every symptom. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual. The good news is that depression—even the most severe depression—is treatable.  

    Learn about our Depression Management Program.

  • Emotional Wellness

    There are many ways to take care of yourself to make sure you can successfully manage everyday life, relationships, and challenges.

    View some strategies from the National Institutes of Health for improving your emotional health.

  • Alcohol Use Disorder

    Compulsive alcohol use, or loss of control over alcohol intake, describes the chronic brain disease known as alcohol use disorder (AUD). Approximately 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 20151. Some signs of AUD include:

    • Drinking more, or longer, than expected
    • Trying to reduce or quit alcohol, but cannot
    • A strong urge to drink
    • Drinking, or the effects of drinking, are interfering with family, work, or school
    • Gotten into situations during or after drinking that were unsafe or dangerous
    • Continuing to drink despite it leading to feelings of depression or anxiety, causing problems with family, friends, or work, or causing other health problems

    Having an assessment performed by a health care professional can help to determine if an AUD is present. Receiving treatment can greatly improve the chances of overcoming AUD.

  • Choosing a Substance Use Disorder Provider

    If you or a loved one needs care for a substance abuse disorder, you do not need a referral from another doctor. You may wish to reach out to your primary care doctor or an MVP case manageras a starting point, or you can find a substance use disorder provider or treatment center in the MVP provider directory.


    The following providers are focused on substance use disorders:


    Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor: A certified practitioner who provides alcoholism and substance abuse counseling services including assessment, evaluation, intervention, and counseling in both individual and group settings.


    Addiction Psychiatrist: A specially trained providers who focus not only on substance use disorders but on the mental illnesses that may have contributed to those substance use disorders.


    Psychologist: A behavioral health professional with an advanced degree who evaluates a person’s mental health through discussion, interviews, evaluations, and testing. A psychologist can make diagnoses but cannot prescribe medications to treat mental illness.


  • Nicotine Dependence

    Smokers and those who use tobacco products may have an addiction to tobacco caused by the drug nicotine. Smokers have a higher rate of cancer, heart disease, and stroke than nonsmokers. Quitting is the best way to improve your health and help reduce the chance of future disease.


    MVP Case Management has the tools to help you quit. Learn more or connect with a case manager.

Find a Behavioral Health Provider

We’ll guide you to a qualified behavioral health clinician who can help. 

For Information and Referral to Community Resources and Programs 

Need Help? You Are Not Alone!

Call or text for free, confidential support.

MVP Crisis Hotline

Crisis Text Line
Text HELLO to 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Call, text, or chat to 988
Or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)