NIH Offers Mental Health Resources to Help Employees
While public actions such as physical distancing and mask wearing are critical to slowing the spread of Covid-19, they have caused major disruptions in our day-to-day lives. It can be difficult to cope with fear and anxiety, changing daily routines and the sense of uncertainty.
“Taking care of yourself is really important, particularly this year,” NIMH’s Deborah Snyder said. “Covid was the tip of the iceberg—which highlighted so many other things swirling around including cracks in the health care system, disparities, natural disasters, polarized political discourse. It’s important to be mindful of the impact on one oneself: take your distress temperature.”
If you need support coping with the events of the past year, help is available in several places:
- The NIH Employee Assistance Program offers free, confidential short-term counseling to help employees cope with stress and anxiety related to the pandemic. To make an EAP appointment, call (301) 496-3164.
- The NIH Here to Listen Staff Support Line provides resources for Clinical Center employees seeking emotional support and is staffed by NIMH clinical volunteers trained in Covid-19 disaster response. Call (301) 451-1151. The line will be staffed live through May 31, 2021. Thereafter, callers will be directed to EAP.
- The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education regularly hosts virtual discussion groups that focus on wellness. For more information, see www.training.nih.gov/events/upcoming. Trainees and their supervisors can call (301) 496-2427 for counseling and advice.
- ORS’ Division of Amenities and Transportation Services has many tools and programs to assist employees during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. These resources include the NIH Child and Family Programs: www.childfamilycare.ors.nih.gov. For more information, see: https://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/wellness/Pages/index.aspx. To receive regular updates on health and wellness events, subscribe to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The NIH Coronavirus Intranet page features information and resources to support your mental and physical heath: https://employees.nih.gov/pages/coronavirus/how-to-cope.aspx.
Snyder and NIMH clinical director Dr. Maryland Pao also present a virtual “Roadshow on Managing Stress During Covid.” In it, they share strategies and tips and provide information about EAP’s role in enhancing employee productivity and well-being. So far, they have given more than 32 presentations to 5,500 attendees. They’ve recently adapted their presentation to include new material.
“If you’re struggling, reach out to get help, just like you would for any physical symptom,” said Snyder. “Covid has taught all of us that our brain, our mood, our mental health deserve parity.”—Eric Bock