EAP Webinars on Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID Schedule for Sept/Oct

EAP is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register for an upcoming live session or view a pre-recorded session on-demand below. More sessions will be added regularly.

EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.

(New) Leading the Human Side of Change

From the Washington State Employee Assistance Program:

Leading the Human Side of Change

We are currently experiencing a rapid transformation of the workplace. As a leader, you may find yourself struggling with how to navigate and lead your team through the challenges that can come with change. In this webinar you’ll learn about the human side of change, how change impacts you as a leader and your work group, strategies to support your team through change, and what resources are available to support both you and your employees.

  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020  2:00pm-3:30pm  Register

Navigating Change in Challenging Times

In our ever changing world, learning how to navigate change is an essential skill—one that can be developed. In this webinar we’ll talk about the impact of change, actions you can take to navigate change based on your unique response to stress, and resources available to support you.

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, October 1, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register
  • Thursday, October 22, 2020 2:00pm-3:30pm  Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis

This webinar is intended for those who are supporting others in crisis e.g. customers, clients, students, employees/staff. During this webinar you will learn how your mind and body responds to stress, possible impacts on your emotional and physical well-being, strategies to build resilience, and supports and resources available to you.

  • Thursday, September 24, 2020  2:00pm-3:30pm  Register
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020  10:00am-11:30am  Register
  • Tuesday, October 6, 2020 10:30am-12:00pm  Register

For more resources and to view a list of recorded webinars, visit https://des.wa.gov/services/hr-finance/washington-state-employee-assistance-program-eap

LLN Lunch and Learn: Checking in During the Pandemic

From the Latino Leadership Network:

We care about you. How are you holding up? The LLN Executive Board is preparing a Lunch & Learn from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept., 23 via Zoom to help you check in with yourself as we connect with one another and get tips on managing stress, isolation, and teleworking from Indira Melgarejo, LLN’s Health & Wellness Chair, formerly a psychologist in Venezuela.

A survey released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in August revealed that 41 percent of respondents reported symptoms of mental disorder, including trauma-related symptoms, depression, and anxiety. The study found a higher prevalence of symptoms of depressive disorder, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety among Hispanic respondents. (Source: ABC News)

So it is not surprising that in our own survey in June, LLN members said they are most interested in LLN activities that focus on managing stress, isolation, and teleworking. Let this lunch break be your time to briefly engage with your peers across the state enterprise and come away with vital information you can use

Registration Information: .Sign up to attend this Zoom meeting on our Eventbrite page

Experts Predict an Increase of Suicides in the Coming Months. Here’s What You Can Do to Help Save Lives

lotus blossom in pond
Image from Pixabay

Editor’s Note: September is #SuicidePreventionMonthThis article first appeared in the August 2020 issues of the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s Employee Frontline Newsletter:

Our state Department of Health (DOH) has been investigating and reporting on the many impacts of COVID-19 on all of us, including mental and behavioral health impacts. The COVID-19 pandemic has been widely regarded as a natural disaster, and in a June 2020 report the DOH considered the COVID-19 pandemic from this perspective and predicted significant behavioral health impacts of COVID using disaster response and recovery modeling. One of the report’s key findings is that suicides in Washington are expected to peak between October and December 2020. Washington’s suicide rate had already increased by nearly 19% from 1999-2016, and our state has the 21st highest suicide rate in the nation at 17.5 deaths per 100,000 people, higher than the national suicide rate of 14.5.

There is some good news: most suicides are preventable, and we can all take action to prepare and get in front of this curve. Here’s what you can do:

And, if you’re struggling and in need of support and guidance, or if you’re concerned about someone in your life and aren’t sure what to do, don’t hesitate to reach out to the EAP, at 1-877-313-4455.

EAP Self-Care and Resilience Building Webinars Schedule for August and September 2020

home office

The Washington State Employee Assistance Program, EAP, is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register for an upcoming live session or view a pre-recorded session on-demand below. More sessions will be added regularly.

EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.

Navigating Change in Challenging Times

In our ever changing world, learning how to navigate change is an essential skill—one that can be developed. In this webinar we’ll talk about the impact of change, actions you can take to navigate change based on your unique response to stress, and resources available to support you.

  • Thursday, August 20, 2020  9:30am-11:00am  Register
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register
  • Wednesday, September 23, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, October 1, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register

Navigating Change Handouts:

Self Care with the WA State EAP

This webinar addresses the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and offers ideas for self-care and strategies for managing stress and fear.

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, September 17, 2020   2:00pm-3:30pm Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis

This webinar is intended for those who are supporting others in crisis e.g. customers, clients, students, employees/staff. During this webinar you will learn how your mind and body responds to stress, possible impacts on your emotional and physical well-being, strategies to build resilience, and supports and resources available to you.

  • Tuesday, August 18, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, September 24, 2020  2:00pm-3:30pm  Register
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020  10:00am-11:30am  Register

Washington State Employee Assistance Program

Phone: (360) 407-9490 or toll-free at (877) 313-4455

Visit the EAP website.

Preserving Sacred Traditions During a Pandemic

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state agencies have had to adapt and figure out new ways of conducting business with minimal contact. With a few modifications, one contract employee at a women’s prison in Belfair has been able to continue culturally-informed programming for incarcerated members of the Native community. Red about JoySky Caudill’s work with Native women. Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on the Department of Corrections’ website. #WomenWhoMakeADifference

selective focus photo of brown dreamcatcher
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

 

by Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

BELFAIR, WASHINGTON—JoiSky Caudill ignites a bundle of cedar and sweet grass inside an abalone shell at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women (MCCCW). With an eagle feather, she brushes the smoke around the incarcerated women’s faces, hands and feet. As she moves between the women, they sing.

The smudging ceremony is one that goes back centuries in Native communities. In many Native cultures, it’s a means of purification and cleansing.

Caudill has kept this tribal ceremony, along with several others, alive with a few modifications as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to postpone or cancel correctional enrichment programs statewide.

Her continuous work has earned Caudill a ‘Mother of the Year’ Award from White Bison, Inc. White Bison is a non-profit charitable organization that offers sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention and healing resources to American Indian/Alaska Native people.

“It’s an honor to be nominated for this award,” Caudill said. “When I found out, I was in tears. To be seen like that in somebody else’s eyes is a big boon and I’m still kind of shocked about it. You get a renewed energy to do this kind of work because it’s not just yourself that got seen. The women in this program got seen.

Caudill is a contract employee who leads Native programs at Washington state correctional facilities. She began overseeing tribal programs for incarcerated women 10 years ago at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). In 2013, she began overseeing tribal programs at Mission Creek. Before that, she was a chaplain.

Caudill didn’t always know she wanted to work at a correctional facility. She began volunteering at WCCW after a close friend and mentor passed away. Caudill was filled with grief. Another friend, who worked at WCCW, urged her to start volunteering there. Caudill found making a difference in the incarcerated women’s lives was making a difference in her own life.

“I spent a lot of time listening to the women and I realized, ‘Oh my goodness, this is where I want to be,’” Caudill said. “I knew this is what the Creator had in mind for me. In my heart, I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.”

Working through a pandemic

women sitting in chairs in a classroom wearing masks
Joi Sky Caudill, Center, stands with members of the Red Willow at Mission Creek Corrections Center. Photo by Judith Gerren

During a normal week, Caudill leads cultural activities with a group of about two dozen incarcerated Native women, known as the Red Willow. Wednesday afternoons and evenings, the women gather in a room to make beaded jewelry and medallions to give away to their families and guests at the facility’s annual pow-wow. Twice a week, the women hold a ceremony inside the on-site sweat lodge, which includes traditional prayers, songs and storytelling. And once a week, Caudill leads a Wellbriety circle. ‘Wellbriety’ is a culturally based grassroots substance abuse recovery movement program specifically for Native community members.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Department of Corrections has taken steps to slow virus spread among correctional facilities, including temporary suspension of visitation and large events like powwows. Correctional facilities have also temporarily suspended and/or modified recreational and classroom activities that normally involve group gatherings.

In the Red Willow, ceremonies like the sweat lodge have been split into two shorter sessions, to allow for smaller groups. The ‘sweat’ portion has also been temporarily suspended. But talking circles, smudging, prayer, song and dance still convene on sweat lodge grounds. All participants must also wear a mask.

Efforts to lower recidivism

Talking circles are a major part of all Red Willow ceremonies. During the talking circle, participants share common experiences as Native women.

Some conversations explore historical trauma. Historical trauma is cumulative emotional, physical and spiritual pain over one’s lifetime, Caudill said. Historical trauma can pass between generations in Native families. It can result from historic systemic racial inequalities in society and can lead to things like substance abuse and higher likelihood of incarceration.

In Washington’s correctional facilities, approximately 5.9%, or 1,011 incarcerated individuals (pdf) are American Indian or Alaska Native. According to the 2019 United States Census Bureau, American Indian and Alaska Natives make up only 1.9% of the state’s population. As of March 2020, the state’s recidivism rate among American Indian and Alaska Natives state is 44.5%.

And the rate hasn’t fluctuated much. According to the Department of Corrections’ Engagement and Outreach Director, Jeremy Barclay, the rate has remained between 41% and 45% for the past three years. But he’s confident the department has taken steps to lower that rate.

For example, the department has a tribal liaison, Nancy Dufraine, to work with tribes statewide to develop policies, agreements and programs that directly affect tribes. The position promotes effective communication between the department and tribal governments. The liaison also coordinates training among employees in cultural competency for providing services to tribal governments and tribal members. For the past year, the department also hired a second temporary liaison to work on projects and further the department’s work.

Dufraine says historical trauma, chronic poverty, health disparities and lack of access to behavioral health services are all factors that increase likelihood of a Native person becoming incarcerated. But having culturally informed programming can play a role in their success after incarceration.

“Access to this type of programming, including religious expression, education, training and health services while incarcerated with seamless transition upon reentry can have a large impact on recidivism as I see it,” Dufraine said. “These opportunities, especially religious expression, help identify paths to self-awareness and reborn cultural identity that builds strength and endurance to succeed.”

A place to heal

portait of JoySky Caudill
JoySky Caudill. Photo courtesy JoySku Caudill

Caudill is of mixed European descent and shares ancestry with the ancient Mayans of Mesoamerica. She says programs like Wellbriety are an example of the good that can come from incorporating culture in correctional programs. She says it’s not uncommon for incarcerated Natives to have lost their cultural connections by the time they are sentenced to incarceration.

“When one gets lost in their pain and suffering with drugs and alcohol, it’s the strength of the drugs and alcohol that gets in the way,” Caudill said. “We call it the mind-changer of drugs and alcohol. They get caught up in their addictions and don’t get involved in their culture.”

The program creates a safe place to talk with their peers, which often reawakens their ancestral ties.

“They join the Red Willow, and they start to remember their culture and traditions,” Caudill said. “They say, ‘I remember I used to do that. I used to dance and sing. I have to do that again.’ They start remembering what their culture is and what they used to do.

“They begin to dance again and we practice those things. We tell them to show us and pretty soon, they’re the ones teaching the other women. It’s so exciting to see them brighten up and be able to remember these things.”

Another topic the Red Willow have begun to discuss more often in the talking circles is the pandemic. While the women feel safe with each other, they worry about their families in their home communities.

Native communities are facing disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection and death as a result of an insufficient Indian Health Services Budget, delays in federal relief funds and social detriments of health that put them at an elevated risk, according to Medpage Today, an accredited medical news service that provides continuing education to health care professionals.

“This pandemic can be a triggering time and can generate new fears,” Caudill said. “They may have loved ones who are sick.”

Caudill comforts them by creating a secure environment to express their feelings. She says she and the Red Willow are there to listen without judgement. And the women may arrange to speak with Caudill one-on-one, if it makes them more comfortable.

“Our Native American ceremonies have really brought me comfort in being so far away from my family,” said a member of the Red Willow, who is Apache and Cherokee. “Our spiritual ceremonies during this pandemic have been what I call ‘my dates with the Creator,’ being able to go out and smudge and pray and be in that safe zone has always given me that strength to where I’ve been able to have that peace of mind.”

Having a positive impact on the women’s lives is what pushes Caudill to continue her work at Mission Creek.

“That’s one reason I’ve done my very best to make sure I’m here — to allow these brothers and sisters to communicate their fears without any judgement.”

About Mission Creek Corrections Center: Mission Creek Corrections Center is an all-female adult minimum custody prison located in Mason County, Washington. It has been continuously operated since 2005 and has a capacity of 321.

State Launches Washington Listens Hotline to Support People Affected by Stress of COVID-19

The program includes a phone line to speak with support specialists and connect to community resources

Release date: July 6, 2020
Release Number: FEMA R10 COVID-19 NR-003
call-3613071_640 (1)

OLYMPIA–In response to COVID-19, Washington has launched Washington Listens, a support program and phone line to help people manage elevated levels of stress caused by the pandemic. People who call the Washington Listens support line will speak with a support specialist and get connected to community resources in their area. The program is anonymous.

“Washington Listens helps people cope and strengthen their resiliency in these uncertain times,” said Sue Birch, director of the Washington State Health Care Authority, the agency managing the program. “It complements the state’s behavioral health response services by providing an outlet for people who are not in crisis but need an outlet to manage stress.”

“This pandemic has had far-reaching effects that extend beyond our physical health. We are still in this fight against this virus, and this assistance will help Washingtonians recover during this uniquely stressful time,” said Mike O’Hare, FEMA Region 10 administrator.

The Washington Listens support line is 1-833-681-0211. It is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method.

Providers and tribes that have partnered with Washington Listens include American Indian Community Center, Colville Tribe, Community Integrated Health Services, Crisis Connections, Frontier Behavioral Health, Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare, and Swinomish Tribe.

The Washington Listens support line is made available by a $2.2 million Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) grant funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This program supports short-term interventions to mitigate stress, promote the use or development of coping strategies, and provide emotional support to help Washingtonians understand and process their stress.

Resources and self-help tips are available on walistens.org.

Washington State EAP COVID-19-related Webinars for July and August

The Washington State Employee Assistance Program, EAP, is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register for an upcoming live session or view a pre-recorded session on-demand below. More sessions will be added regularly.

EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.

Navigating Change in Challenging Times

In our ever changing world, learning how to navigate change is an essential skill—one that can be developed. In this webinar we’ll talk about the impact of change, actions you can take to navigate change based on your unique response to stress, and resources available to support you.

  • Friday, July 24, 2020 8:30-10:00am  Register
  • Tuesday, July 28, 2020  3:30-5:00pm  Register
  • Wednesday, August 5, 2020 2:00pm-3:30pm  Register
  • Tuesday, August 11, 2020  10:00am-11:30am  Register
  • Thursday, August 20, 2020  9:30am-11:00am  Register
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register

Navigating Change Handouts:

Self Care with the WA State EAP

This webinar addresses the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and offers ideas for self-care and strategies for managing stress and fear.

  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020  3:00-4:30pm  Register
  • Monday, July 27, 2020  2:00-3:30pm  Register
  • Tuesday, August 4, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Thursday, August 13, 2020  1:00pm-2:30pm  Register
  • Tuesday, August 25, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis

This webinar is intended for those who are supporting others in crisis e.g. customers, clients, students, employees/staff. During this webinar you will learn how your mind and body responds to stress, possible impacts on your emotional and physical well-being, strategies to build resilience, and supports and resources available to you.

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2020  8:30-10:00am  Register
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020  2:00-3:30pm  Register
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020  9:30am-11:00am  Register
  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register
  • Tuesday, August 18, 2020  8:30am-10:00am  Register

For more information about the Washington State Employee Assistance Program or to view other COVID-19 related resources, please visit

Washington State Employee Assistance Program

Phone: (360) 407-9490 or toll-free at (877) 313-4455

Visit the EAP website.

Many of us are now experiencing depression or anxiety. Here’s how to recognize signs and get help

depression

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s July Newsletter.

Nearly one third of adults in the U.S. now show signs of clinical levels of depression or anxiety, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  For some, it can be difficult to know when to reach out for professional help.  Please consider contacting the EAP for support, at 877-313-4455, if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • a traumatic event or vicarious trauma leads to prolonged symptoms of re-experiencing (flashbacks, nightmares), avoidance (of thoughts, people, situations), negative thoughts and mood (shame, fear), and arousal & reactivity (irritable, angry, reckless, issues with concentration or sleep).
  • anxiety causes you to worry excessively in intensity, frequency, or amount of distress it causes, or when you find it difficult to control the worry (or stop worrying) once it starts.
  • you are feeling little interest or pleasure in doing things you once enjoyed, or you are feeling down, depressed, hopeless, or are having thoughts of suicide.

In the NCHS survey, Black and Latinx/Hispanic adults were more likely to report anxiety or depression than whites or Asians. This tragic yet unsurprising result makes sense, given the harsh realities and impacts of longstanding systemic racism in our country coupled with the disproportionate health and economic burden of COVID on BIPOC. Know that EAP is committed to and is actively working to dismantle oppression within our program and services. We wholeheartedly support your right to have a safe space in counseling, and you are welcome and encouraged to ask for a counselor who identifies as a person of color—we will do our best to accommodate your request.

For additional resources, check out our COVID-19 Resources and Racism & Mental Health Resources pages.

Remember: you are irreplaceable, and your mental health and wellbeing are precious. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, at 877-313-4455.

State Employee Assistance Program Webinars for the Month of June 2020

home office

The Washington State Employee Assistance Program is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register today for these upcoming live webinars:

*New* Couples: Managing Your Way through COVID-19 (live)

  • Thursday, June 4, 2020 4:00-4:30 pm – Register
  • Friday, June 12, 2020 3:30-4:00 pm – Register

Self Care with the WA State EAP (live)

  • Tuesday, June 2, 2020 8:30-10:00 am – Register
  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 3:00-4:30 pm – Register
  • Monday, June 15, 2020 1:30-3:00 pm – Register

Washington: Coming Together to Learn, Support, & Connect (live)

  • Thursday, June 4, 2020 12:00-12:30 pm – Register
  • Thursday, June 11, 2020 12:00-12:30 pm – Register
  • Thursday, June 18, 2020 12:00-12:30 pm – Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis (live)

  • Monday, June 1, 2020 3:00-4:30 pm   – Register
  • Monday, June 8, 2020 8:30-10:00 am – Register
  • Thursday, June 18, 2020 9:30-11:00 am – Register
  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 3:00-4:30 pm – Register
EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.

Employee Assistance Program Webinars for Week of May 4-8

home office

EAP is offering webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics to support emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Register today for these upcoming live webinars:

Working from Home during COVID-19: Coping with the Challenges, Setting Yourself Up for Success (live)

  • Monday May 4, 2020  2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Register

Self Care with the WA State EAP (live)

  • Tuesday May 5  3:30 p.m. -5:00 p.m.  Register

How to Build Resilience When Your Job Involves Helping Others in Crisis (live)

  • Tuesday, May 5, 2020 9:00-10:30am  Register
  • Thursday, May 7, 2020 9:30-11:00am  Register

Washington: Coming Together to Learn, Support, & Connect (live)

  • Wednesday, May 6, 2020 9:00-9:30am  Register

Leading Teams and Supporting Employees through COVID-19 (live)

  • Wednesday, May 13 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.  Register.

EAP also has a website with links by topic to helpful resources from addiction to finances to parenting to support for marginalized communities.