Self Care

Is mental health counseling available to employees?

Through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is administered by American Behavioral, any full-time benefit-eligible employee — even those who don’t subscribe to our Auburn University health insurance plan — has access to six EAP calls (up to 30 minutes each) per employee and per covered family member free of charge. (While our EAP normally offers three calls per calendar year, this number has been increased during the COVID-19 crisis.)

AU health insurance plan subscribers also have up to 30 visits for mental health treatment available in a calendar year. Important: If the claim is filed with a COVID-19-related diagnosis, the copay, deductible and inpatient admission copay will be waived.

For more information on either of these services, call (800) 925-5EAP (5327).


How do I deal with stress and anxiety related to COVID-19?  

Taken from “Mental and Emotional Self-Care during COVID-19”, which is provided by Auburn University Student Affairs.

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has been stressful for many people and communities. Fear about the spread of a novel virus can be overwhelming and cause various emotional responses.  Auburn University has been actively monitoring the evolving nature of COVID-19 and has implemented guidelines to ensure the safety of the campus environment.

This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing and/or self-isolation. It also suggests ways to care for your mental health during these experiences and provides resources for more help. Further, it offers ways to reduce social stigma or discrimination of groups of people in relation to COVID-19.

What to Expect During This Time

Typical Reactions

Every person may experience their own unique reaction to a stressful situation such as the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, you may feel some combination of what is listed below.

You may feel:

  • Anxiety, worry, or fear related to your own health status.

  • Concern about effectively managing your life demands while choosing to isolate for your own safety and safety of others.

  • Concern about friends and family back home, if home is in an area heavily affected by COVID-19.

  • Stigmatized or singled-out, including if you are part of a group of people who may experience stigma related to COVID-19 (see Social Stigma section below).

  • Anger and frustration about having your movements in the world confined to one space.

  • Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities.

  • Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation.

Not-as Typical Reactions (But Can Still Occur)

Some people have pre-existing emotional or psychological conditions that can be exacerbated by a high-stress event, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. This may include: 
  • A desire to use unhealthful coping behaviors that interfere with normal sleeping, eating, and self-care behaviors such as excessive late nights, over-eating, and excessive use of substances.

  • Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, lethargy, isolation, or sleeping too little or too much.

  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive distressing memories, flashbacks (reliving the event), nightmares, changes in thoughts and mood, and being easily startled.

What if I Have to Distance Myself From Others?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals are encouraged or even required in some cases to engage in social distancing, especially if it is possible that they may have come in contact with COVID-19. 

Ways to Support Yourself During Social Distancing and/or Self-Isolation

Connect with Others: Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing and isolation. You can use the telephone, email, text messaging, and social media to connect with friends, family, and others.

  • Maintain a Routine and Take Care of Your Body:

    • Stick to a scheduled sleep routine (see the Sleep Page on A Sound Mind website)

    • Eat healthy and avoid excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances

    • Infuse some variety into daily activities

    • Read (books, magazines, blogs, etc.)

    • Do homework: stay connected with professors by email and keep up with classwork

    • Spend time in meditation or just taking deep breaths and stretching

    • Journal about your experience during this time

    • Monitor time spent on social media

    • Engage in or develop a hobby: try something new you have never tried before! 

  • Manage Emotions: Expect that this may be challenging at times and it is normal to feel a variety of emotions.  Be sure to talk about how you are feeling with others.  “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) is a normal thing to feel; use social media sparingly if you start feeling this way and turn your attention to things you enjoy. Have actual conversations with others if you feel lonely. 

The website “Calm” is providing free meditations during this time; this may be a great resources to maintain emotional health.

Additional resources include: “Taking Care of Yourself during COVID-19”, which is provided by the Auburn University Department of Psychological Sciences, and “Manage Anxiety & Stress” from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

More links


Auburn University Marriage and Family Therapy Center

The Marriage and Family Therapy Center (AU MFT Center) is offering in-person along with technology-assisted family therapy services (TAFTS) to all employees and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Therapists offer individual, couple or family therapy for mental, behavioral, and emotional diagnoses, along with therapy for coping and relationship support.

  • For in-person services, the client(s) must provide their temperature before entering the building and are required to wear a mask during therapy. They are escorted to their room from the car rather than waiting in a lobby. They are then escorted out of the building.

  • TAFT services are offered via Zoom, a secure, HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing platform, to ensure continued care. Zoom can also be downloaded to a smart-phone, with the added benefit of fewer technical difficulties.

For more information visit http://www.mftcenter.auburn.edu/. 


 

Last updated: 12/04/2020