September 11, 2017

Center for Healthy Living offers employee assistance counseling services

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 10-16. This focus of attention on one of the leading causes of preventable deaths provides a good opportunity to remind faculty and staff that the Center for Healthy Living on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus is a resource for those experiencing signs of depression or suicidal thoughts. The staff at the center understand the daily need for awareness and ensuring availability of resources regarding depression and suicide prevention.

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. Employees are allotted six visits per year via the employee assistance program. Two employee assistance counselors -- Nancy Cook and Laci Parcell -- are available to provide professional and confidential on-site counseling services throughout the year during the center's normal business hours.

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.

Cook and Parcell 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.

“For individuals who are depressed, suicide is a serious concern,” Cook says. “It’s our job as employee assistance counselors to help our patients work through their problems, whether it be work or family-related concerns. While depression and suicide receive much-needed attention particularly during the month of September, we know that depression and suicide occur consistently throughout the year and we’re proud to be able to offer our EAP services to our patients on a regular basis.” 

Cook and Parcell offer some general self-help tips for anyone who is suffering or believes they are suffering from depression and/or suicidal thoughts. They include: 

* Write down your thoughts.
* Stay active.
* Try to avoid alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms as they can make symptoms worse.
* Make time for things you enjoy.
* Get fresh air.
* Talk to trusted individuals: friends, relatives and/or a counselor.

To request an appointment with an employee assistance counselor at the Center for Healthy Living, call 765-494-0111.

While depression and suicide are topics covered by employee assistance counseling, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not the only topics the counselors at the center can focus on with employees. Employee assistance counseling is available to assist individuals with a wide range of issues, regardless of whether they are issues related to personal, work or family life. They include:

* Substance abuse – alcohol and / or drug.
* Adjustments following divorce.
* Anxiety disorders.
* Dealing with grief and loss.
* Elder care.
* Parent-child relationships.

The center is open for medical appointments 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Lab hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For medical consultation after hours or on weekends, contact the Anthem NurseLine at 888-279-5449 for assistance or use LiveHealth Online for a virtual appointment. LiveHealth Online Psychology is also available.

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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