The challenge to address anxiety amidst the pandemic is even greater. Sometimes understanding
that there are clinically researched tools to manage stress and a willingness to
use those tools comes before making the healthy changes.

Connecting to Care Changes Lives Series

In the Connecting to Care Changes Lives series, Uprise Health behavioral health coaches and clinicians are exploring their role in creating a world where mental and physical healthcare is delivered with skill, patience, kindness, and empathy. Innovation in care and digital resources are highlighted as Uprise Health develops new ways to access care and provide services.

In the first of the series, we introduced a few of our behavioral and mental health coaches and clinicians, who shared tips for how to start the new year with healthy habits. In the second installment, Dr. Darryl Huels shared his insights as a leader in managing our clinical care team and views on the future of mental health care. In the third blog, Nurse Team Leader Pedro Gago shared insights about chronic disease management and thoughtful approaches to mental health. In our fourth blog, Nurse and Case Manager, Maribel Alvarez-Vargas shared her expertise and highlighted the importance of mental health in managing diabetes.

In this fifth installment of the Uprise Health Connecting to Care Changes Lives blog, we had the opportunity to speak with Uprise Health Wellness Coach, Beth Rockoff. Beth has worked with the nurses and health coaches at Uprise Health for 12 years. She is an accredited Health and Wellness Coach through Wellcoaches and the American College of Sports Medicine. Prior to working as a Health Coach, Beth was a teacher at Sylvan Learning Centers and a special education classroom teacher. She created the elementary school level Special Education curriculum for Byram Township, NJ. She earned her undergraduate degree at Kean University in Union, NJ, and her master’s degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She currently resides in South Florida, has two grown children, and loves being Grandma to her three small grandchildren.

Beth is active in the organization and sits on the board of Steve’s Camp at Horizon FarmsShe has been a volunteer at the summer camp during the girls’ sessions for 5 summers.  Beth uses her coaching and teaching skills to interact with high school girls from the New York City area in underserved communities.  Building healthy leaders to create a healthier world is the goal of the Steve’s Camp experience. 

Beth shares her insights, processes, and communication strategies to help members step into a more active learning model rather than a more typical passive role. A collaborative behavioral health care approach that includes both mental and physical health care can improve management of all health conditions. To change behaviors that lead to chronic disease or to effectively manage a chronic disease, doctors are not enough.

Changing our behavior is difficult, and most people don’t know how to successfully make lasting changes. They want to stop smoking, lose weight, be more active for their family, or to manage a disease. Despite these important reasons for wanting to get healthy, many people still fail. Health and wellness coaches are the solution!

What’s your role at Uprise Health?

“I am a Health Coach. I work directly with members to improve their lifestyle which will ultimately improve their physical health and mental health. I collaborate with their other internal health providers as needed. I tailor my outreach and coaching based on each member’s individual traits, strengths, weaknesses etc. because how success looks is not ‘one size fits all’. The things that remain constant in the Health Coaching process with the members are exploring the gap between current and desired physical and mental state, guiding and helping members set goals for themselves, and action planning.

Creation and support of action steps requires frequent reinforcement of my belief in them and fostering their belief in themselves. This is essential along with optimal health future self-visualization, supporting action and building momentum through listening, and inviting the member to talk. I connect because I sincerely care and enjoy the listening process. I encourage reflection, clarify questions, turn member’s questions back to them, highlight values, identify potential barriers and resources, and I invite members to share what they are learning.”

What makes you passionate about what you do?

“Most people rank good health as their number one wish. I love teaching and helping people discover a new approach to managing their well-being. I enjoy the creative thinking process and teamwork that goes along with helping our members discover new approaches to improving their own health. There is no greater reward than listening to someone tell the story of their ‘aha’ moment, and I share in the joy and pride in their sudden insight or discovery.

I feel a sense of accomplishment, and the connection I have with these members means so much! Many members become our Success Stories, and I am thrilled to see them thriving and humbled when they mention me, my influence, and guidance as keys to their transformation. I think my philosophy of taking small steps to effect big change is something members can embrace.”

What does your day to day look like?

“Generally, my workday includes previewing my calendar and the needs that are important for each client. I review the processes for my approach with the different programs that are used at Uprise Health. I will make my calls, listen to my members, encourage them with their efforts, brainstorm about overcoming barriers, and celebrate their successes – especially the small ones.

As I am planning and preparing for my sessions with members, I emphasize that the road to better mental and physical health doesn’t always have to mean making huge leaps. There are also many smaller steps they can take that will help improve their overall health and quality of life — a big piece of what I do daily is work with members to identify and figure out things they can incorporate into their routine easily that they’ll be able to maintain for the long haul. Even if they only have limited time to spare, they can use that time to improve their well-being. It’s taking that first step that is the most challenging.”

How has your work contributed to how you think about mental health?

“Good mental health of course contributes to overall health, and good mental health contributes to a general sense of well-being. Anxiety about health and a family’s wellbeing is heightened during the current pandemic. The challenge to address anxiety amidst the pandemic is even greater. Sometimes understanding that there are clinically researched tools to manage stress and a willingness to use those tools comes before making the healthy changes.”

What is your vision for the future of mental health care?

“My vision for the future of mental health care would include the acceptance of mental health disorders as a health issue, not as a problem. Treatment would be covered by insurance companies and the advice of ‘just get over it’ would disappear. Family and friends would be prepared with what to say to someone suffering from depression or other mental health issues. We would feel comfortable and understand how to be helpful to someone with a mental health issue and know how to connect them with resources for help. People wouldn’t be afraid to talk about their issues and we would be able to communicate with each other in a straightforward manner.”

With the skills you’ve learned on the job, and the experiences you’ve had in it, what is one thing you would recommend family, friends, and everyone incorporate into their daily routine for optimized mental health?

“Find your moments of peace to renew and restore. Whether it’s listening to music on the way home from work, setting aside time to put your phones and tablets down for at least 30 minutes a day, going for a walk, or just getting outside for a breath of fresh air. Find an app on your phone for relaxation, calm, or meditation if you have no idea where to start. Count your blessings. Smile at the people you encounter. If it’s beyond your control to change, let it go. It’s a new year. We have another chance for a new beginning!”

Our behavioral health professionals are the heartbeat of Uprise Health and help people discover how to be the best mentally and physically. We track progress and adapt to individual’s changing needs. Uprise Health guides people to meet personal goals and assists them through any difficulties they may encounter during their health journey. We will have our last installment of our Connecting to Care Changes Lives series coming soon, and you can learn more about Uprise Health’s mental and behavioral health solutions.