UW System Introduces Online Behavioral Health Tool

The University of Wisconsin System announced a new online behavioral health tool, SilverCloud, that offers self-guided programs for anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and resilience. The tool is now available to faculty, staff, and students at any time, on any device, and at no cost.

“While the behavioral health of our students, faculty, and staff has always been a high priority for the UW System, the current COVID-19 pandemic has put those needs into even sharper focus,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “We are working hard to find ways to provide these vital services to our UW community and this online tool is a great option.”

System experts have been broadly reviewing the behavioral health challenges facing students, the availability of existing services, and the need for additional services. The SilverCloud tool emerged as one of several strategies.

“The Board of Regents has made student behavioral health a top priority,” said Regent President Andrew S. Petersen. “We are pleased that SilverCloud will be available to our students, staff, and faculty during the upcoming academic year, and we look forward to additional recommendations from our campus and System experts.”

In April 2019, a UW System report showed a 55 percent increase in demand for behavioral health support since 2010. That report, in conjunction with other behavioral health indicators, led the System to create three work groups that focused on identifying solutions and approaches to mitigate the growing behavioral health needs of the UW community. One work group reviewed crisis management services for students at risk of suicide or self-harm. A second looked at targeted interventions for vulnerable student populations, including veterans, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students. A third studied ways to foster healthy learning environments. The UW System Board of Regents will receive an update on this work at its meeting in October.

Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the SilverCloud self-guided program allows individuals to manage day-to-day stressors personally and anonymously using interactive content and skill-building tools.

Studies have shown that online cognitive behavioral therapy can provide an effective form of care for those who are highly motivated and experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. The program can supplement traditional therapy or campus mental health services, while some individuals may use it without seeing a counselor at all.

To sign up or find out more about the tool, visit: https://uwsystem.silvercloudhealth.com/signup

Source: UW System

Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty

The following article is from our
Employee Assistance Program, FEI

Spring EAPost: Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty

Human beings like certainty.  We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us.  When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed.  This very reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.

A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t.  Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”.  We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress.  The uncertainty might also connect to our uncertainty about other aspects of our lives, or remind us of past times when we didn’t feel safe and the immediate future was uncertain.

In times like these, our mental health can suffer.  We don’t always know it’s happening.  You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, helpless or sad.  You might notice that you are more frustrated with others or want to completely avoid any reminders of what is happening.  For those of us who already struggle with our mental wellness, we might feel more depressed or less motivated to carry out our daily activities.

It’s important to note that we are not helpless in light of current news events.  We can always choose our response.  If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:

  1. Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those.  Wash your hands.  Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news (Do you really need to know what is happening on a cruise ship you aren’t on?).
  2. Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others.  It’s ok if you’ve decided what makes you feel safe is to limit attendance of large social events, but make sure you separate when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression.
  3. Get outside in nature–even if you are avoiding crowds. I took a walk yesterday afternoon in my neighborhood with my daughter.  The sun was shining, we got our dose of vitamin D, and it felt good to both get some fresh air and quality time together.   Exercise also helps both your physical and mental health.
  4. Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment.  Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
  5. Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support.  You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.

We are in this together, and help is always available.  If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/2020

You can also contact FEI at 1-866-274-4723 or complete FEI’s contact form (https://fei.eapintake.com/).

StayWell Monthly E-Learning Sessions

NOW AVAILABLE: MONTHLY E-LEARNING SESSIONS
Sessions, one of many cool new features of the new Well Wisconsin platform, can help you improve your well-being knowledge. And there’s a new one offered each month!

‘WHAT EXACTLY IS A SESSION?’
A Session is an e-learning opportunity that consists of well-being readings, games and quizzes.

We see you falling asleep reading that last sentence. Wake up! We promise these are way cooler than they may sound—snazzy, snappy, simple and engaging.

A new Session “opens” at the start of each month and you can complete it on your own time, at your own pace.

‘WHAT KINDS OF SESSIONS ARE THERE?’
Session topics include:

  • Energy Balance
  • Fats
  • Stress Management
  • Portion Sizes
  • Heart Health

And a lot more. New Sessions open monthly on wellwisconsin.staywell.com and the first one—Introduction—is available now!

‘IS THIS PART OF THE WELL WISCONSIN INCENTIVE PROGRAM?’
Yes, it is!

By completing at least three monthly Sessions, you can check off the “complete a well-being activity” box as you work your way toward your $150 Well Wisconsin incentive.*

‘HOW DO I COMPLETE A SESSION?’
Just go to wellwisconsin.staywell.com to get started. If you haven’t already created a new account for 2020, you’ll need to do that. Don’t worry—it’s quick and easy.

You can also complete Sessions on the My StayWell app. Search for “My StayWell” in the App Store or on Google Play.

QUESTIONS? Contact the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591 or wellwisconsin@staywell.com.

*The Well Wisconsin incentive program is a voluntary program available to employees, retirees and spouses enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program, excluding Medicare Advantage participants who have incentives available through their health plan. The Well Wisconsin incentive will automatically be issued to eligible participants upon completing the applicable activities. All wellness incentives paid to participants are considered taxable income to the group health plan subscriber and are reported to their employer, who will issue a W2. In some cases, the Wisconsin Retirement System acts as the employer. Retirees, continuants and their spouses will have some taxes withheld from the incentive amount earned.

StayWell Portal Change

StayWell, the administrator for the Well Wisconsin Program, has a new employee portal in 2020. Remember, the Well Wisconsin Program is available to you and your spouse in 2020 if you have enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program for 2020.

You and your spouse will need to create a new account through the new StayWell portal (http://wellwisconsin.staywell.com/).  Please click Sign Up in the upper right corner the first time you go to the new website to create your new account.

NewSTaywell

Note: The only information that will transfer to your new StayWell account is your 2019 biometric screening data.

Want to see a demonstration of the new portal?  Register for the StayWell webinar on Tuesday, January 14th at 12:00 pm by clicking here.

Please review the Well Wisconsin Program page to learn more about the Well Wisconsin Program.

‘WAIT … DIDN’T I READ SOMETHING ABOUT $150?’
Yes, you did!

All you need to do to earn your Well Wisconsin incentive* is complete three activities by October 9, 2020:

  1. Submit your 2020 health screening results (we will have onsite health screenings in 2020 like last year, and will let you know when the sign up is open, otherwise you can visit your primary care doctor as well)
  2. Take the 10-minute health assessment on the StayWell website
  3. Complete a well-being activity through StayWell

‘WHAT’S A WELL-BEING ACTIVITY?’
It’s a program, tool or educational session that helps you improve your well-being.

And we’ve got a ton of them for you to choose from, including challenges, health coaching, goal-tracking and more. Go to wellwisconsin.staywell.com for a full listing.

GET STARTED!
Just go to wellwisconsin.staywell.com to get started. It’ll only take a few minutes and you’ll be ready to start improving your well-being.

Download the new My StayWell mobile app: After you register on the website and join a team, you can download the app if you want. Search for “My StayWell” in the App Store or on Google Play.

Remember: The deadline to complete your activities and earn incentives is October 9, 2020—which may seem like it’s a long way off, but think about how quickly we got to the year 2020!

QUESTIONS? Contact the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591 or wellwisconsin@staywell.com.

*The Well Wisconsin incentive program is a voluntary program available to employees, retirees and spouses enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program, excluding Medicare Advantage participants who have incentives available through their health plan. The Well Wisconsin incentive will automatically be issued to eligible participants upon completing the applicable activities. All wellness incentives paid to participants are considered taxable income to the group health plan subscriber and are reported to their employer, who will issue a W2. In some cases, the Wisconsin Retirement System acts as the employer. Retirees, continuants and their spouses will have some taxes withheld from the incentive amount earned.

Source: UW System Human Resources & The StayWell Company, LLC

Try Chamomile Tea Tonight

A nice, warm beverage can be a great way to relax before bedtime. But coffee, hot chocolate, and black and green teas contain caffeine that can disturb your sleep. Instead, try chamomile tea. The herb has soothing qualities and may promote relaxation. Tonight, make yourself a hot mug of tea about an hour before bed. Sip it slowly and savor the gentle sweet, grassy aroma. You may find it’s your new favorite part of your nighttime routine.

Article from the StayWell Company, LLC

Embrace Power Naps to Reduce Stress

Naptime is back! In fact, taking a power nap can be just what you need to recharge and reduce your stress! Here are three good tips to try out today.

nap

  1. Limit the length. Keep naps under 30 minutes for better short-term alertness and performance. One study found that 10-minute naps are the most effective for immediate improvements. Longer rests can cause undesired post-nap grogginess.
  2. Select the right setting. Find a restful place to close your eyes. Make sure the temperature isn’t too hot or cold. Try to block out noise and light, if you can.
  3. Time it right. Avoid taking a nap too early or late in the day. Napping late may affect your sleep patterns and make it difficult to doze off at bedtime.

Article from the StayWell Company, LLC

To Catch More Z’s, Slip on Some Comfy Socks

It’s true: Your cold feet could actually be keeping you from getting a full night’s sleep. What if you could banish your sleepless nights with a simple pair of socks?

When you warm up cold feet (or hands), it starts a process called vasodilation, or the dilation of the blood vessels. When your blood vessels open, it sends a message throughout your body, in the form of heat, that it’s time for sleep. This can help you drift off more quickly.

Give it a go tonight. But if the thought of wearing socks while you sleep is slightly disturbing—and it can be for some people—there are other ways to warm those tootsies. Try adding extra blankets at the end of your bed, place a warm water bottle near your feet at bedtime, or wear warm slippers before bed. No matter what you do, the same principle still applies: Heat up your feet, and you may find yourself falling asleep faster.

comfysocks

Article from the StayWell Company, LLC

Take a Mental Trip to Fall Asleep

It’s often hard to drift off at night, especially if you’ve had a busy or stressful day. About 1 in 4 adults experiences insomnia at least occasionally. If your regular wind-down routine isn’t doing the trick, try something called guided imagery.

Pound Ridge Golf Course

Think of a place where you’ve been before, and mentally trace the route in your mind. If you like to golf, “walk” the course in your mind. Tune in to the warmth of the sun and the smell of the fresh air, and imagine that you’re there. Or take a walk through your childhood home, or through a museum you’ve visited before. You can also retrace the steps of a walking or running route. Directing your attention in this way—taking a mental trip—can help you ease into restful slumber. Challenge yourself to try out guided imagery before you head to bed tonight!

 

Article from the StayWell Company, LLC