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


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.

Six Tips to Strengthen Your Immune System

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Washington State Employee Assistance Program’s April 2020 Newsletter

Strengthen Your Immune System

You and your family are working hard to limit your exposure to COVID-19 by social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces and more: all of the actions recommended by the CDC, Washington State Department of Health and World Health Organization (WHO). What else can you do? To support your immune system to function at its best, it’s more important than ever to take these commonly recommended self-care actions:

1) get adequate sleep (7-9 hours for most folks)

2) eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants

3) move your body regularly

4) avoid smoking and heavy alcohol/substance use

5) maintain a healthy weight

6) manage your stress. This advice is even more important for older adults because they are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as the immune system becomes less efficient with age.

Examine gaps in your immune system maintenance plan, and talk to your medical doctor, health/wellness adviser or an EAP counselor for support with healthier self-care actions and overcoming any roadblocks. You can also watch the EAP’s on-demand webinar on self-care during COVID-19 or visit our COVID-19 Resources page to sign up for an upcoming live webinar.