Mental Health Resources for Staff

Mental Health Resources for Staff
Posted on 03/19/2020
Mental health graphicDear Waukegan Staff,

It has been a difficult time for everyone these last few days, as we adjust to an unprecedented set of circumstances. While much of our recent focus has been on how to best protect the physical health of ourselves and others, it is just as important that we are all talking about and taking steps to ensure we maintain our mental health. Below we are sharing valuable information from our District’s mental health professionals to assist staff through these unfamiliar circumstances. You will also find information on how to access our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at any time.

As we all work to adjust following the interruption of our routines, and are faced with uncertainty about what the following days will look and feel like, there are many stress-related emotions and symptoms you may be experiencing. These include:
- Fear and worry about the health of yourself and loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

If you are feeling abnormally stressed, or experiencing elevated levels of anxiety, there are several simple strategies you can utilize to help regulate your mood and relieve some of your symptoms:
- Limit your exposure to the news and social media. Constant attention to the pandemic can be the cause of anxiety
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate
- Try to eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs
- Build in other activities you enjoy, to the extent you can do so safely and consistent with guidelines and orders of public health officials
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling
- Spend time with your pet(s)
- Embrace a new hobby
- Clean and organize your living spaces

Those with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment, consistent with plans made with your treating health care provider, as well as take note of any new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

An additional resource for staff is our Employee Assistance Program, (EAP) which is available to all District employees, as well as their dependents. This service is available 24-hours a day, and will provide confidential and free assistance to help resolve work, health, and life challenges. For assistance, please call 1-800-272-2727 or go to www.workhealthlife.com/us and enter our organization as Waukegan School District.

The EAP offers assistance on a wide range of issues, including:
- Depression
- Stress Management
- Anxiety
- Relationship Problems
- Alcohol or Drug Addictions
- Financial or Legal Concerns
- Parenting Concerns
- Eldercare
- Childcare
- & much more


Thank you for your time, and I strongly encourage everyone to take care of their minds and bodies as we work through these uncertain times.


Sincerely,

Theresa Plascencia
Superintendent
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