Back to School in 2020: Helping Kids and Families Cope

Listen in to an interview with Ryan Herringa, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, about how to support kids and parents during this difficult time.

  • Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
  • Time: Noon to 12:30 pm
  • Format: Well Wisconsin Radio (*counts towards your “Activity” goal for your wellness incentive)

Well Wisconsin Radio is a podcast style monthly interview series with health and well-being experts from all across the state of Wisconsin. Listen in from Noon to 12;30 pm on Tuesday, September 22nd to earn credit for your well-being activity.

REGISTER HERE

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

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

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! 

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/).

Good-For-You Giggles

Did you know that laughter offers health benefits? We’re not kidding.

GOOD-FOR-YOU GIGGLES
Research shows that laughter may:

  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Enhance your memory

EMBRACING HUMOR IN TOUGH TIMES
We know that belly laughs may not be at the top of your priority list right now. But that may be even more reason to seek out humor.

Studies show that humor and laughter can:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your resilience
  • Boost your mood
  • Help you cope with difficult situations

JOIN US FOR A SELF-CARE BOOST CHUCKLE
Well Wisconsin Self-Care BoostThis week, we have something to make you laugh: Kristi Mulcahey talks with Wisconsin native and comedian Charlie Berens. Click here or on the link below to watch the video.

 

WATCH HERE AND LAUGH

Want more giggles? Here are a couple more of Charlie’s videos that hit pretty close to home:

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

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC

How can you improve your well-being?

What are some things you are doing to improve your mental and physical well-being?  Here are some things that your co-workers reported they are doing or recommending:

      • Taking online yoga classes
      • Using video chatting via Facebook or Facetime to have some human contact
      • Streaming workouts
      • Trying new recipes using items on hand in the freezer or pantry
      • Exercising by doing dance routines from YouTube
      • Picking up the phone to call co-workers rather than sending countless emails
      • Taking walks outdoors
      • Utilizing free online platforms to do better team collaborations
      • Having a daily routine/schedule

Be intentional – make your well-being a priority.  What will work for you to reduce your anxiety and stress, and improve your mental and physical health?  Create a plan and start today!  You will feel better mentally and physically.

Online Well-Being Resources

We recognize the recent unprecedented events may cause stress and other life challenges for you and your family members and friends. Here are some online well-being resources that may be helpful.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): We encourage employees to utilize individual providers through your health insurance program and/or UW-Green Bay’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is available for all employees, to include student employees. EAP offers services to support employee well-being and resilience in work and life, including navigating anxieties related to COVID-19.  Online resources about emotional/mental health, work/life challenges, legal/financial circumstances, and monthly webinars are available.

Telemedicine*: This is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of electronic communication. So, you can access health care through a video chat or a ‘virtual house call.’ Through telemedicine, a doctor may be able to recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.  These services vary among insurance carriers, so check your carrier’s website for details.  click on this link to see the health insurance carriers (ex. Dean Prevea 360, Network, WEA Trust-East, etc.), and then click on your carrier’s name.  For example, with WEA Trust-East, this service is called “Amwell” and Dean Prevea 360 has “Virtual Visit.”

Pharmacy Benefits*: Click here for information about the process to get a 90-day supply of prescription medications, or use a the Serve You mail order program.

Wellness*: Use the StayWell website to participate in wellness challenges, make progress towards your Well Wisconsin $150 Incentive, and take advantage of online health coaches and resources such as videos, articles and healthy recipes.  Have you downloaded the StayWell Mobile App yet?  It’s easy and convenient. The “My StayWell” app is available via the App Store or Google Play.

*This information is specific to those who are enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Health Insurance Program.

Questions?  Please contact us at payrollandbenefits@uwgb.edu or (920) 465-2390.