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Client Connect Newsletter - May 2024

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Embracing Mental Health in Our Lives

May is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of mental health, which is especially pertinent for those dealing with long term disability claims. At Riemer Hess, we recognize the mental and emotional challenges our clients face and emphasize the importance of prioritizing mental health alongside legal battles.

To ensure that everyone can access our newsletter, we've made it available in an online format equipped with an accessibility widget. This allows you to customize your reading experience according to your needs. Access the newsletter online by clicking here. 


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 Honoring Remarkable Strength

Our "Resilience Spotlight" is not just an award—it's a recognition of the remarkable courage demonstrated by members of our community. Each story highlights resilience and the remarkable strength of the human spirit.

This month, we are honored to recognize a client who has demonstrated extraordinary resilience in overcoming mental health challenges. This award celebrates their strength and serves as an inspiration for others to prioritize their mental well-being.

This Month's Inspiration: Julia (anonymous) 

Julia’s journey is a testament to incredible strength and underscores the vital importance of mental health.

Julia, an accomplished attorney, initially came to Riemer Hess seeking assistance with her long term disability claim after experiencing a traumatic event that left her with significant mental health challenges, including severe anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Additionally, Julia’s pre-existing physical conditions were exacerbated by the stress and trauma, leading to significant sleep disturbances and an inability to concentrate.

Due to these compounded symptoms, Julia was unable to continue working and missed many days of work. She faced a difficult decision when given two options by her employer: taking severance or returning to work and leaving after a certain period. We advised Julia that returning to work posed a risk to her benefits if her position was terminated.

To strengthen her claim, we recommended she undergo a neuropsychological evaluation for additional supportive evidence. Julia was able to secure her doctor's support for disability due to her severe depression. Understandably, she was unsure about her employer's actions and concerned about the financial repercussions if her claims were denied. Despite this uncertainty, Julia committed to taking the step of filing her disability claim. With our support, Julia's claim was approved, securing the benefits she needed.

While Julia could no longer work in her prior occupation as an attorney, she was committed to her recovery and eventually became able to rejoin the workforce in a different role. Riemer Hess helped Julia successfully navigate the process with her insurer to prove that even with her new employment, she remained disabled under the “own occupation” terms of her policy and was still entitled to her benefits.

Throughout this journey, Julia's kindness and positivity have shone through in every interaction she has with others. She has demonstrated remarkable perseverance, and her determination to recover from unimaginably difficult circumstances has been truly inspiring.

Julia's story highlights the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking support when faced with overwhelming challenges. Years later, we continue to support Julia by maintaining her benefits through our monitoring services. Her story is a powerful reminder of the strength and courage that individuals can muster in the face of adversity.

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A Community of Shared Experiences

In "Peer Perspectives," we believe in the power of shared experiences. Hearing from others who are walking a similar path can be incredibly validating and comforting. It's not just about sharing advice; it's about building a community of understanding and support.

Your stories and insights offer real-life perspectives about the disability process that can inspire and guide others in similar situations. By sharing your experiences, you contribute to a collective wisdom that enriches our entire community.

May's Insights: Prioritizing Mental Health 

In May's "Peer Perspectives," we delve into the vital topic of maintaining mental health, especially during the stress of managing a long term disability claim. We asked our clients to share their personal strategies, providing insights that resonate with and support others facing similar challenges.

Q: What specific practices do you recommend for maintaining mental health during stressful times?

    • "Exercise, including outdoor walking, is key."- Anonymous

    • "I can't do all of the activities I used to, but I do make time for relaxing hobbies like listening to music, meditation, and reading as much as my condition allows, which lower my anxiety. It's also so important to stay connected with loved ones. When I am having a particularly bad mental health day, I reach out to family and friends who I know will offer a listening ear and support." - Anonymous

    • "My health status has forced me to pause, evaluate, select, and prioritize my priorities. The top two are my spiritual and mental health. I am using this challenging situation as an opportunity to grow closer to God and develop a strong character with a focus on grit. I do this by dedicating time each day to reading daily devotion, the bible, praying, and/or reflecting. I am constantly reminded that I have a God who loves me, strengthens me, provides for me, counsels me, and is always fighting for me. The great news is that focusing on my spiritual health does wonders for my mental health as I focus on what I can control, learn, and where I can grow. I also ensure that I maintain a strong support network with my family and friends. Having people who encourage me during this difficult journey makes a big difference. Having the opportunity to talk, vent, cry, laugh, and pray together does wonders for the soul. I also take the time to encourage my family, friends, and strangers when I can. Life is hard for a lot of people. Making a positive impact no matter how small is key to filling my cup. My body no longer allows me to manage multiple priorities, quickly and effortlessly. I have therefore taken the time to start meditating – taking 5-10 minutes to be calm and present. Why didn’t I start doing this earlier?! I also have to be mindful about where, when, and how I use my energy. I save my energy for my young children – they are an energetic and loving bunch and spending time with them inspires me to keep fighting to get better. I also ensure that I prioritize taking time for myself so that I can give back. I do activities that I enjoy including listening to Christian music, reading, watching criminal tv shows/movies, and dancing (well…that is what I tell myself as my movements are more limited…but I am still moving and that is better than no movement). Finally, I believe that my life is as good as my mindset, and I focus on maintaining a positive and growth mindset, which is made possible by all the activities I complete above. It is through difficult situations that we become better and stronger people." - Anonymous

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Mental Health Management Strategies 

Navigating a long term disability claim can be emotionally taxing, and managing your mental health is crucial during this stressful process. Here are five tailored strategies to support your mental well-being:
  1. Foster Supportive Connections: Regularly engage with friends, family, or support groups who understand your situation. These connections can provide a vital source of emotional support and understanding. Seek peer advice. Sometimes, talking to others who have been through a similar process can provide unique insights and comfort.

  2. Stay Informed and Empowered: Understanding your rights and the details of your claim can reduce feelings of helplessness. Knowledge is empowering and can make the process seem less daunting.

  3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Practices: Techniques such as guided imagery, meditation, or gentle yoga adapted to your abilities can help in managing stress and improving overall well-being. These practices can be particularly effective in fostering a calm and centered state of mind.

  4. Practice Gratitude and Positive Thinking: Focus on the positives in your life, however small they may seem. Keeping a gratitude journal or engaging in positive self-talk can shift focus away from the challenges and foster a more optimistic outlook

  5.  Limit Exposure to Stressors: Identify and minimize interactions or activities that exacerbate stress. This might involve setting boundaries in personal relationships or limiting the intake of stressful news.

  6. Engage in Enjoyable Activities: Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Engaging in creative or leisure activities can be a powerful antidote to stress.

  7. Professional Mental Health Support: Consulting with mental health professionals can be especially beneficial. They offer coping strategies specifically tailored to deal with stress, anxiety, or depression that may arise during the disability claim process.

Remember, taking care of your mental well-being is a crucial part of navigating these challenges.

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Supporting Mental Health and Well-Being

In May, as we emphasize the importance of prioritizing mental health, particularly for those navigating the challenges of long term disability claims, we recommend a book that offers valuable insights and strategies for mental health and well-being.

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"The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma"
By: Bessel van der Kolk

About the Book: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert on trauma, delves into how trauma reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers' capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. It explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. The book is groundbreaking in its sympathetic exploration of the effects of trauma and the paths to recovery.

Why It’s Relevant: Many clients dealing with long-term disability claims may also be coping with mental health challenges, including trauma and stress. van der Kolk’s book is particularly relevant as it provides a deep understanding of how traumatic experiences impact mental and physical health. It offers practical advice and therapeutic techniques to aid in mental health recovery, making it a valuable resource for individuals seeking to understand and improve their mental health.

Why You Might Find It Inspiring: The Body Keeps the Score is more than just a book on trauma; it’s a guide to understanding the interconnectedness of mind and body. It empowers readers to explore healing methods that can lead to emotional and physical recovery. The book’s compassionate approach towards mental health challenges and its exploration of various therapeutic options can inspire hope and provide new perspectives for those dealing with mental health issues alongside their disability claims.

As we focus on mental health this May, let this book be a guide in understanding and healing.


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June: "The Strength of Community"

Riemer Hess wants to know: How have you built or strengthened your support network during your disability claim process, and what impact has it had on you? 

Share your insights anonymously by clicking the Microsoft forms link below.

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A Commitment to Mental Health and Well-Being

A Commitment to Mental Health and Well-Being As we navigate through May, let us all remember the importance of mental health in our lives. Riemer Hess is committed to supporting not just your legal rights, but your mental well-being as well.

Looking Ahead to June

Next month, we will delve into the theme of "The Strength of Community." Your experiences and insights are vital to our next discussion.

Additional Notes

  • Our newsletter is tailored for easy reading in all formats, including an accessible online version.
  • Your feedback is essential for us to continually improve.
  • We uphold the highest standards of confidentiality and privacy.

This update highlights our recent successes and ongoing efforts in advocating for our clients. As always, we encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns about the Firm or your claim. We are here to help.

This content does not constitute legal advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.  Always consult with a long term disability attorney for guidance.

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