Coping with stress during COVID-19? Mental health resources provide support, assistance

Each year, Stress Awareness Month and Counseling Awareness Month are both recognized in April.

As the world continues to adjust, bend and navigate the new COVID-19 norm, shining the spotlight on these two topics comes at the perfect time. Today, many individuals are dealing with added COVID-19 stressors and anxiety on top of their normal work and / or personal life stress.   

“Managing and dealing with stress looks different to everyone,” said Candace Shaffer, senior director of benefits in Human Resources. “Now more than ever we want to ensure the members of our Purdue family know about and can access the variety of mental health resources – including employee assistance counseling – that the University provides, as well as the many community support systems in place to help those in need. Behavioral health, which is a pillar of Purdue’s Healthy Boiler Program, continues to be a main priority for Human Resources – Benefits, and we’re thankful we can maintain that support during this time of uncertainty with online and telehealth options. ”

Human Resources (HR) recently deployed a “Working through COVID-19” website so employees have a quick path to find information specific to HR processes – such as remote work, payroll, hiring and leaves – in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, the website shines a spotlight on mental health. On the “Stress / Mental Health Resources” web page, resources and options available from Purdue and the community are listed. Here are some examples:

Purdue resources

  • Employee Assistance Program
    Counseling, offered through Purdue’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a no-cost resource available to the Purdue community, and currently is being offered via telehealth. EAP counselors offer confidential, professional counseling to benefits-eligible employees and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan. Campus-specific information can be found on the web pages below:
    • West Lafayette campus EAP – offered through the Center for Healthy Living. Note: in this time of need and uncertainty, CHL counselors are available for appointments outside of the six-visit limit, without charge. Call 765-494-0111 to schedule.
    • Fort Wayne campus EAP – available through Bowen Center. Call 800-342-5653 (open 24/7)
    • Northwest (Hammond and Westville campuses) EAP – provided by New Avenues. Call 800-731-6501, select option 2.

 Anthem – Purdue’s medical plan administrator – also provides an EAP, now offering free, confidential help at

“Stress, regardless of the reason, is hard on an individual’s mind and body,” said Rachael See, EAP counselor at the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. “And without a positive outlet where that built-up stress can be released, the damage can result in even more serious medical or mental health issues. As a licensed mental health counselor, I’m trained to understand anxieties, concerns, fears, etc. without judgement. I provide a safe space for my clients to express themselves and process their experiences. Through my integrative approach, I’m able to treat the whole individual as we work together to promote long-term and self-sustainable health and wellness. It’s important for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and stressed to reach out and find assistance that works for them – whether through an EAP counselor, online counseling, digital apps, or any other healthy tools that promote positive outlets to de-stress.”

  • LiveHealthOnline Psychology – offers the ability to talk face-to-face with a licensed psychologist via computer or mobile device. Mental health visits via LiveHealth Online are covered by all Purdue health plans.
  • myStrength – provided by Anthem; myStrength is a free digital health club for the mind, offering a personalized portal with access to positivity-training tools, articles, daily mood tracker, step-by-step eLearning programs.
  • Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics– a part of the College of Health and Human Sciences, the specialty clinics offer assessment and therapeutic services for children, adults and families.
  • Purdue Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) – CAPS delivers comprehensive psychological services to the students at Purdue. However, their online resources below provide COVID-19-related mental health information that is usable by faculty, staff and students.

Other resources

There are many community and national organizations also ready to help, such as:

  • COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub: a collaboration among several national leaders in the mental health community – including Anthem and Beacon Health Options – the COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub is a free, digital resource site to help individuals and care providers address behavioral health needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This Resource Hub provides a range of resources designed to help people, their families and care providers cope with pandemic-related stress brought on by social isolation, job loss and other challenges. Additionally, Anthem and Beacon will share their COVID-19 related content with Psych Hub, and web sites for Anthem’s affiliated health plans and Beacon will house educational videos produced by Psych Hub, as well as behavioral health-focused resources authored by Anthem and Beacon mental health experts.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)– SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline – call 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 – is available 24/7 with crisis counseling and other support for people who are going through emotional distress from a disaster, including infectious disease outbreaks. Spanish speakers, text Hablanos to 66746. See the online brochure here .
  • Crisis Text Line– Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. The Crisis Text Line connects you to a live, trained volunteer who can provide support – medical advice is not provided.
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs– Managing Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak