Center for Healthy Living, LiveHealth Online offer depression, suicide prevention support, services

Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness … isolation from friends and family … sleep issues … increase or decrease in appetite … lack of concentration … sadness … irritability … suicidal thoughts …

The behaviors listed above are not uncommon, and there is a high probability that you or someone you know has experienced one or more of them at some point in time. All of them are symptoms of depression; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) depression statistics show that around 9 percent of American adults suffer from some form of depression.  

Compounding the severity of the disease is then the link between depression and suicide. The CDC reports that suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999, and mental health conditions – such as depression -- are one of several factors contributing to suicide.

September is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Purdue University understands that awareness and ensuring resources are readily available regarding depression and suicide prevention is an every-day necessity. With that in mind, the Center for Healthy Living’s employee assistance counseling on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, along with counseling options via LiveHealth Online Psychology, provide readily accessible resources for employees.

According to the “2011-2015 Suicide in Indiana Report,” (the most recent report available) produced by the Indiana State Department of Health and released in March 2017, the most recent data ranks suicide as the 10th-leading cause of death for Americans with an average of one American dying by suicide every 12.6 minutes. The report also shows that from 2011 to 2015, 4,673 suicides were reported in Indiana, of which 982 occurred in 2015. From 2011-2015, suicide was the second-leading cause of death in the 15-34 age group, the third-leading cause of death among those 10-14 years of age, fourth among those 35-54 years of age and eighth for the 55-64 age group.

The suicide rate in Indiana has increased nearly every year since 1999 with a total increase of 72 percent from 1999 to 2015.

“These statistics continue to show us that suicide is a prevalent health concern nationwide, as well as within our state,” said Candace Shaffer, director of benefits in human resources. “Being able to give our employees options and resources to utilize should they find themselves or family members in situations where depression and suicidal thoughts become too much, is something that is a priority to us, and we are proud we are able to do so. The Center for Healthy Living’s counselors along with LiveHealth Online Psychology counselors provide the Purdue community with two additional resources they might not otherwise have. Depression and suicide don’t discriminate; everyone is susceptible, and we want to make sure if a member of our Purdue family needs help, we have resources available to do so quickly, conveniently and as cost-effectively as possible.”   

Resources available for employees

  • Center for Healthy Living, West Lafayette campus  

Employee assistance counseling is available through the center to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff as well as dependents covered on a Purdue medical plan. Two employee assistance counselors – Nancy Cook and Amanda Douglas - are available to provide professional and confidential on-site counseling services as well as via telephone when needed.

Each employee’s situation is unique,” Cook explained. “We all can make the connection that healthy people perform better at work and get along better with their co-workers. Depression, anxiety, bad moods and negative attitudes are contagious. More times than not, everyone is affected when even one member of the work group is having trouble.”

“Depression and suicide don’t discriminate; everyone is susceptible, and we want to make sure if a member of our Purdue family needs help, we have resources available to do so quickly, conveniently and as cost-effectively as possible.”  - Candace Shaffer, director of benefits

When you visit the Center for Healthy Living to access the employee assistance counseling services, you will meet with one of the counselors -- experienced, licensed mental health professionals -- who will provide a free, confidential and individualized problem assessment. Following the assessment, you and your counselor will develop an action plan to help improve the problem(s).

“Depression and thoughts of suicide should never be taken lightly,” Cook said. “If someone tells us or implies they are having suicidal thoughts, we work to quickly evaluate the extent of their plans and try to best determine the likelihood they are to act upon them. We then look at their support system, history of attempts and the severity of the attempts if applicable. If we have serious concerns about the individual’s suicidal thinking, we bring more people into the picture to help until the crisis has passed.”

If ongoing services or treatment is deemed necessary following the six times employees are able to meet with a center counselor, you may be referred to a provider covered by your Purdue medical plan or to a local resources agency. Behavioral Health referral information for all three campuses (West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Northwest – Hammond and Westville - is also available via the  Who To Call /Where To Go web page. 

Employees seeking assistance managing their medications can meet with one of the center’s pharmacists in-person or via telephone to help figure out the best plan of action.

  • LiveHealth Online Psychology

LiveHealth Online Psychology provides individuals the ability to talk face-to-face via a computer or mobile device with a licensed psychologist from the convenience of their home, office, car or wherever is most convenient. In addition to the LiveHealth Online psychology option, LiveHealth also offers LiveHealth Online Psychiatry, where, like the medication therapy management services via the Center for Healthy Living, individuals can receive medication management support for common behavioral health conditions like major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety and more.

  • Mental Health America (MHA)

Purdue employees on all three campuses have local access to Mental Health America services. The organizations mission is: “Mental Health America – founded in 1999 – is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.”

Mental Health America affiliates provide mental health support services, educational programs and more.

  • Mental Health America; Wabash Valley Region, Lafayette, IN
    (765) 742-1800

    *Crisis Center Hotline can be reached via 765-742-0244 (call or text) or toll-free at 877-419-1632 for any problem at any time.

  • Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana  - Hammond, IN
    (219) 736-4955

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support, prevention and crisis resources.
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Get involved

Purdue Extension – serving each of the 92 counties in Indiana – has a team of certified facilitators of Mental Health First Aid who are able to bring this important, life-saving course to your community, organization or department.

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour training to teach participants how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.

To learn more or to schedule a Mental Health First Aid course, visit and search “Mental Health First Aid.”


Any questions regarding benefits coverage can be directed to Human Resources at, HRHelp (secure email) or by phone at 765-494-2222 and toll-free at 877-725-0222.