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

More Ways to Earn Your $150 Wellness Incentive

We have two pieces of good news to share with you today:

  1. You still have time to complete your Well Wisconsin activities to earn $150*.
  2. You now have more options for completing the health check portion of the program.

This is the Well Wisconsin program. We offer you tools and resources to help you achieve better well-being.

And you can earn $150 by completing three activities by October 9, 2020:

  • Take the 10-minute StayWell health assessment.
  • Complete a well-being activity through StayWell.
  • (UPDATED!) Complete a health check.

Nice! Feel free to give yourself a high-five, and go about your day.

If you haven’t already earned your incentive, you now have multiple options for completing the health check portion of the program. Just complete one of the following:

  • Biometric screening: Click “SCHEDULE NOW” on the Quest Diagnostics slider on the wellwisconsin.staywell.com homepage to get started. You’ll have two options:
    1. At-home test kit: Request a kit by registering and clicking “Order Materials.” To meet the October 9 deadline, please request your kit by September 25.
    2. Onsite screening event: Find an event near you by registering and clicking “Make an Appointment.”  There will be an onsite health screening event at the UWGB Sheboygan campus on Friday, September 18th, and at the Green Bay campus on Thursday, September 24th.  The August 12th event on the Green Bay campus has been cancelled.
  • Health Care Provider Form: Download the fillable form here.
  • Dental cleaning: Complete a routine dental cleaning visit between January 1 and October 9. Report your completion on the My Incentives tab of the portal.
  • One coaching call: Call 800-821-6591 to schedule a call, or schedule a video meeting on wellwisconsin.staywell.com or on the My StayWell app.

Go to wellwisconsin.staywell.com to get moving.

There, you’ll find a full list of well-being activities, plus a trove of information to help you improve your overall wellness!

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: The StayWell Company, LLC

Refinding Your Work Groove After Sheltering in Place

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic created a whole new work reality. During shelter-in-place orders, you may have been working from home—or maybe you were unable to work at all.

Either way, when it’s time to restart your work life—heading into the office again, rejoining your old job, starting a new gig—the transition may feel a bit odd. Going from sweatpants (or no pants) to work attire is tough enough. But then you throw in the new routines, the different environments, and the overall newness of everything and, whew, this sounds tough.

Here are tips for smoothing your transition back to work and refinding your day-to-day groove.

Act Like You’re Starting a Brand-New Job—Even If You Aren’t

Hey, a little extra effort never hurt anybody at work.

If you’re starting a new job, congratulations! If you’re returning to an already-held job, you’re getting reacquainted with your office, your coworkers, your bosses, etc. In any case, use it as an opportunity to establish yourself.

  • Respect the workplace environment. Every place of business has a unique dynamic and culture—and it may be different after the pandemic. Read the room so you can determine how to put your best foot forward.
  • Set boundaries. Even though you want to impress, it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and avoid burnout.
  • Be inquisitive. Asking questions is important: It’s how you learn. If you seek guidance from people around you, you’ll gain a lot of knowledge.

Relearn How to Focus

Your environment at work is likely different from what you had at home. Get back in the swing with these tips:

  • Prioritize your day. A to-do list can be your best friend when you’re looking to maintain focus.
  • Limit distractions. Set aside time without gadgets or interruptions.
  • Take breaks. Stopping and going for a quick walk can help recharge your mind.

Re-Establish Good Workplace Habits

Getting to a specific place on time. Packing a healthy lunch. Putting on pants. These are all habits you haven’t employed in a while. But that doesn’t mean they’re lost.

Reacquire and re-solidify these actions by:

  • Identifying your goals. Figure out the behaviors you want to change, or those you want to start, like showing up on time.
  • Making a plan of action. Set small, reasonable goals so you don’t dive in all at once. (Start setting your alarm earlier by increments, for example.)
  • Being patient. You may not fall back into these habits right away. Be nice to yourself and allow for hiccups.

We’re all coming back into the workplace together, so if you’re feeling a little uneasy, you’re part of a big club. You can find a groove again—just give it time.

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC

Are you ready for some BINGO?

Here is your wellness challenge for July!  Complete at least 20 of the 24 activities on the bingo card from July 1st to July 31st to qualify for a chance to win a prize!

  1. Click here and print out your bingo card
  2. Mark off each square and write the date you complete that item during the month of July
  3. Scan or take a photo of your bingo card and email it to wellness@uwgb.edu by August 10th

Stay healthy this summer! 

What will it be like when I return to work on campus?

Yes, it will be different when you return to working on campus.  This will be a transition that we will work through together, and things will change as we go.  Some of us have been working on campus, and some of us haven’t been on campus since March.  Some of us are excited to get back to campus and some of us are hesitant, so the transition will be different for each person.  Here are some things you may be wondering about.

Will everyone be wearing face masks?

Yes – employees, students, and visitors will be wearing face masks.  The Employee Workplace Expectations states that face masks or face coverings must be worn by all employees working on campus when in the presence of others and in any setting in which it is difficult or impossible to maintain a six-foot physical distance from others.  If you are working alone at your work station, you probably wouldn’t need a face covering, but if you go to a common area (ex. copier), bring something to another office, or leave the building at the end of your work day, for example, you would put your face mask on.

Will everyone be back to campus on July 1st?

No – a lot of employees will continue working remotely, so there will be a lot less people on campus than before.  Some offices/areas may not be open or will be open limited hours.  Some offices will have limited staff and may require appointments to be made ahead of time, instead of allowing drop-ins.  You will see less people in the hallways, as remote communication (ex. Microsoft Teams, emails, etc.) will be encouraged as opposed to face-to-face interaction.

How will my work area look different?

If there is a waiting area, there may be less chairs available to allow for social distancing.  There may be plexiglass at the front desk.  The conference room may have less chairs, and markings showing where a limited number of people could sit for necessary in-person meetings.  There will be cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer available.  There may be less chairs in the lunch room.

What else will look different on campus?

Common areas, such as group study areas in the library or seating areas in the tunnels may be inaccessible or closed off.  Dining options may be limited.  You will see hand sanitizing stations around campus.  Signs are posted around campus reminding people to wash their hands, etc.  Some restrooms and entry/exit points to campus will be closed or inaccessible.  There will be signs by the elevators recommending social distancing.

Will I be expected to clean my work area?

Yes – it is important for you and your co-workers that our work areas are clean, so we will all work together to keep campus clean.  Before and after using the copier or microwave, you would use the cleaning supplies to wipe it down.  Common touch points should be cleaned daily, such as doorknobs, light switches, shared equipment, etc.  Reception or front desk areas should be cleaned throughout the day.

Will we still have department and in-person meetings in the conference room?

Probably not – even if some staff members are working on campus, most meetings will still be conducted remotely using Microsoft Teams, etc. with each person attending from their individual work station, whether it’s on campus or at home.  Instead of walking through campus to ask a question in-person, we will send an email or call.

Do I really stay home if I have a cough or sore throat?

Yes – each morning before you work on campus, you would complete the online self assessment, and if you answer Yes to any of the questions, you should not come to campus.  Contact your supervisor and work from home, or if working from home is not possible, use sick leave.

This will be a change, and it will take time to get used to the new environment and expectations.  Please continue to be understanding, and help each other out.  One of the things that isn’t going to be different, is that we care about each other, and have a common goal of doing the best we can for our co-workers, students and our University.  Here are some additional resources:

  • Employee Assistance Program – (Username: SOWI) They have free and confidential in-person and virtual counseling services available for you and your household members, as well as great resources online such as monthly articles and recorded webinars.  There are eight recorded webinars specifically about COVID, such as Kids and COVID-19 – Tips to Help Parents, Navigating the Anxiety and Stress of COVID-19, and Towards a New Workplace Normal in the Age of COVID-19.
  • StayWell – After logging in, click on Resources at the top left, and there are a ton of short articles and videos specifically about COVID, such as How to Talk to Y0ur Child, Simple Ways to Avoid COVID-19, Caring for Someone Who Has COVID-19, Financial Well-Being During a Time of Crisis, and Dealing with the Stress of Self-Isolation.
  • Employee Workplace Expectations
  • UW-Green Bay Coronavirus Information and Questions and Answers
  • HR Connect blog

Each situation and work environment is different, so please talk with your supervisor if you have a question about your job duties, work environment, etc.  If you have a question related to a medical issue, please contact Human Resources at hr@uwgb.edu.

Managing Anxiety When Returning to Work

COVID-19 has challenged many people’s security and sense of control. Returning to work represents a return to normal, but it may not be without its own causes for anxiety. Finding a balance between your personal wellbeing and work environment and responsibilities is important. So, before and after your return to work, you should address any reservations related to COVID-19 that may affect your work duties.

Continue to follow the recommended measures to prevent spreading the virus. Take care of yourself and others by taking the necessary actions at work (washing your hands often, staying home if you’re sick, and maintaining social distancing), as well as in your daily interactions. If the kind of work you do needs additional precautions, discuss necessary changes, and follow the instructions from your manager.

Don’t be afraid to propose additional suggestions. If you find yourself coming up with more ideas outside of the recommended safety measures, bring those up to your manager. This is a time where everyone must adapt to a new way of doing things—at work and home. By becoming more involved, this can provide a refocus of your thoughts and put you in a more optimistic place during this transition. So, go ahead and suggest your ideas. These could be beneficial to your workplace and create an easier transition for the rest of your team.

Keep communication open with your manager. Do you have children or an elderly family member at home? Or, do you have health conditions that put you at greater risk for COVID-19 infection, disrupted childcare arrangements, or other concerns? Be honest with your manager if you need certain arrangements (working from home for longer or working in a solitary space away from other staff members). Even if your manager cannot accommodate your needs exactly, most will do what they can. When you create an open line of communication, you can keep your supervisor informed on your day-to-day, as well as alleviate any apprehensions you may have about your work situation.

Be patient with yourself and your coworkers. In the aftermath of a stressful or disruptive event, it is natural to move at a slower pace while you recover and adjust to new circumstances. If you have concerns that are keeping you from focusing on your work (anxiety about working in a shared space with other staff or fear over the spread of the virus), share these thoughts with your manager. They may be able to offer guidance or options for you. Keep in mind that returning to work from COVID-19 puts everyone in circumstances that are new and different. Give yourself some time to return to your former focus and full productivity. Be patient and trust that your team will find its old rhythm.

Take care of your mental health. Anxiety and fear are normal when you come back to work after a stressful event. If you realize that you are not able to manage these feelings, ask for help. There are various resources you can locate, including your employee assistance program (EAP) or additional professional support.

The above article is from our Employee Assistance Program, FEI.

Here are some other helpful resources from FEI:

Returning to the Work Site

In an upside-down world, sometimes good news can cause mixed feelings.

For instance, if you or a family member was furloughed, temporarily laid off, or asked to work from home in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, being asked to return to work can be great news—wrapped in fear. With a bow of anxiety on top.

That’s OK. That’s a normal reaction.

Make a Personal Plan

Some states are very slowly starting to reopen work sites, shops, schools, and public spaces. Venturing back into these spaces may cause feelings of fear, worry, and even anger.

It may help you to know that many other people share your anxiety. It’s a healthy response. Use it to motivate yourself to make a solid plan for returning to work. Here are some things you should know before creating your plan:

  • How COVID-19 is transmitted.
  • Basic infection prevention measures.
  • The signs and symptoms of infection.

Execute Your Plan

Now that you have some solid science-backed information, start your plan. The best plan is one that you create and feel you can execute. Below are some suggestions. You can rearrange, skip, or add items as you need or want to. This is your plan.

Make sure you continue to:

  • Exercise to reduce stress and boost your immune system.
  • Get enough sleep to help your body manage stress and boost your immune system.
  • Eat healthy to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to prevent infection.
  • Meditate to calm your mind for clear thinking and better focus.

Start working on:

  • Figuring out how you will ease back in to work—Create a calendar, step-by-step plan, or tactical report—it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you have a plan.
  • Making household arrangements—Talk to family members about their concerns and expectations. Don’t wait until the day before to line up daycare, meals, etc., if you usually take care of those things.
  • Getting your supply list together—Start a list now of the things you want to bring with you.
  • Learning to avoid touching your face—Seriously. You would be surprised how often and unconsciously you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Things you can do when back on the work site:

  • Discourage coworkers and visitors from using your phone, computer, tools, or other work items.  If you must share, be sure to wipe down all surfaces between users.  And try not to use others’ items as well.
  • Keep a 60%-alcohol (or higher) hand sanitizer at your desk or in your tool bag or pocket.
  • Try to maintain space between yourself and coworkers.
  • Stay home if you are sick.  Ask others to do the same.
  • Know and follow your employer’s guidelines about staying safe at work.

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC

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/).

Looking for calm? Try the virtual reality meditation app from StayWell

We all need a little calm in our lives. Especially with everything going on right now.

That’s why we’re pleased to offer you access to Provata VR, a FREE virtual reality meditation app.

It’s a mobile application that guides you through short meditations. These include audio tracks and peaceful visuals.

Because meditation can help you:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve focus
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce risk for stroke and heart attack

And it’s really easy.

The guided meditations help you to slow down and be mindful about your thoughts and your body. You can start with a two-minute guided body scan, or you can choose longer meditations.

Get a preview by watching this video.

You’ll need a new wellwisconsin.staywell.com account set up for 2020, so set one up if you haven’t already.

Then, follow these steps, using your smartphone or tablet:

  • Search for “Provata VR” in the App Store or on Google Play.
  • Download the app.
  • Create your account, using the same email address and password used for your Well Wisconsin account.

Well Wisconsin has several tools and resources that can help with your emotional well-being.

The Resources section has e-learning modules such as:

  • Meditation & Relaxation
  • Depression
  • Stress Management

And since emotional well-being is so closely tied with physical, financial and social well-being, we’d encourage you to explore all the tools and resources available at wellwisconsin.staywell.com or on the My StayWell app.

Well Wisconsin Self-Care BoostAs our stress levels rise during this uncertain time, we’ll talk about why meditation is important for reducing stress. Then we’ll walk you through a 20-minute guided meditation.

Click here or on the button below to get started and use the password 3H$$1#!2.


How about a good laugh next week? We will be interviewing Charlie Berens from the Manitowoc Minute and watching some of his videos.

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

Can five minutes a day help? YES.
See whether you can dedicate five minutes every day this week to slow down or reset. You just may notice a big change.

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC