Center for Healthy Living offers depression, suicide prevention counseling services

September 8, 2015  

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week and Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. These occasions provide a good opportunity to remind faculty and staff that the Center for Healthy Living is available as a resource for those experiencing signs of depression.

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 Sara Primeau, are available to provide professional and confidential on-site counseling services. Both are experienced and licensed in social work.

Signs and symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, issues with sleep, inability to concentrate, isolation from friends and family, increased irritability, low energy and thoughts of suicide.

Primeau and Cook can identify the symptoms of depression and assist employees in finding appropriate treatment. Referrals are made to a variety of professionals within the center -- physicians, nurse practitioners, dietitian and registered nurse health coaches -- as well as within the community to ensure that the patients receive the best care possible.

“Suicide is a serious concern for people who are depressed,” Primeau says.

When a connection between depression and suicidal thoughts is made, the counselors have a plan of action in place.

“If someone tells us they are having suicidal thoughts, we evaluate the extent of their plans, the likelihood they are to act upon them,” she says.  “We look at their support system, history of attempts and the severity of the attempts. 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.”

The silver lining is that depression is a treatable illness and the resources available on campus can help. Primeau says more than 80 percent of those who seek treatment show improvement; she has worked with many people who have recovered and improved their lives.

Primeau offers some self-help tips for anyone who is suffering or believes they are suffering from depression:

* Reduce stress in your life.
* Get enough sleep.
* Eat well.
* Rest and relax.
* Socialize with positive people. Avoid those who are doom and gloom and don’t understand that depression is an illness.

To request an appointment with an employee assistance counselor at the Center for Healthy Living, call 49-40111 or schedule via the employee portal.

Employees seeking immediate after‑hours assistance may contact the local Crisis Center toll free at 877-419-1632. Employees seeking information or referrals may call 765‑423‑2255. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is another available resource and can be reached at 800-273-TALK (8255). 

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