February 10, 2021

Annual physicals offer opportunity to discuss behavioral health concerns, needs

Healthy Boiler behaviorial health graphic

As shared previously, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 20 percent of American adults experience some sort of mental health concern -- such as depression or anxiety – each year. Like the flu, although not as noticeable, mental health concerns can affect physical health.  

With that in mind, mental health screenings can be done during an annual physical, which some primary care providers do automatically.

“Preventive care is important to us all,” says Candace Shaffer, senior director of benefits in Human Resources. “And just like annual physicals, an annual mental health checkup is also a form of preventive care, which is why we recommend individuals of all ages request a mental health screening during their annual physical.” 

Support via Healthy Boiler

Purdue’s Healthy Boiler Program -- a multifaceted approach to overall well-being -- includes focus on both behavioral and physical health and offers cost-controlled benefits and easily accessible resources in those areas. Through these two respective pillars, the program:

  • Advocates for integrated care programs that focus on behavioral health and community support.
  • Champions health education, preventive care and ongoing treatment programs to help individuals achieve lasting physical health and overall well-being.

In addition, employees and covered spouses can earn incentives up to $325 (employee-only coverage) or $650 (employee plus spouse, employee plus child or employee plus family coverage) each year by completing the required wellness steps. In 2021, there is an option to complete only the annual physical or complete the annual physical and biometrics screening. Completing both steps results in the $325 and $650 total incentives earned. Completing only the annual physical earns $200 (employee-only) or $400 (employee plus spouse, employee plus child, employee plus family).

According to Nisha Bogosian, nurse practitioner at the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette, discussing any behavioral health concerns during an annual physical appointment is recommended so the health care provider can fully access and follow up with a needed care plan or referral if needed.

 “If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please bring them up to your primary care provider if you haven’t yet,” Bogosian says. “Symptoms that would warrant further evaluation or a discussion with your provider include:

  • Disturbance in sleep -- difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Low tolerance to frustrations.
  • Periods of sadness for no apparent reason.
  • Overeating, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs as a way to deal with stress.
  • Fears for no apparent reason.
  • Frequent changes in mood.

“We have made it a priority to continuously share and remind the Purdue community about the resources available to assist with any behavioral health needs,” Shaffer say. “In doing so, our hope is that all employees on all Purdue campuses realize they have the option to ask for help and feel safe and supported doing so. Behavioral health is a normal part of overall wellness and knowing that it’s okay to not always feel or be OK is a big part of that, too.”

More information

To assist students

Faculty and staff, who work with students or have a student at home, can direct students to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: LiveHealth Online Psychology and LiveHealth Online Psychiatry services are also available to Purdue students who are covered on a Purdue health plan. Mental health visits through LiveHealth Online are covered at 100 percent on the Purdue student health plan.   

Office of the Dean of Students

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)


Contact Human Resources at 765-494-2222, toll-free at 877-725-0222 or via email at hr@purdue.edu.

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