Update: April 28, 2020, 7:00 a.m.
As we enter our seventh week of social distancing because of the coronavirus, I want to thank each of you for the work you are doing and for continuing to keep our students front and center as we adjust to remote instruction.
I also want to encourage you to take care of yourselves during one of the most stressful and unexpected events of our lifetime. Between worries over your own and your loved ones’ health and concerns about the pandemic’s effects on the economy, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of depression and helplessness. While these are completely normal emotions to experience right now, I don’t want any of you to feel this way.
Please know if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, there are myriad resources both on and off campus that are available to help.
First, New York State’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is now providing remote and confidential counseling and other services, which are free for employees and their families. To schedule an appointment, call (800) 822-0244 or go online. Also, EAP has put together a wealth of links to mental health organizations and programming and tips for everything from parenting to cooking during a quarantine on its COVID-19 Resources page.
Another free resource for employees is the New York State Emotional Support Helpline, (844) 863-9314, which specifically addresses anxiety fueled by the coronavirus.
On our campus, the Weigel Wellness Center is producing a series of videos addressing ways to handle anxiety, isolation, and mental health, which will be available in May. In the meantime, Rock Doyle, assistant vice president for health and wellness, suggests that employees who would like referrals to services in the community call the Counseling Center at (716) 878-4436.
Also, I’d like point to a few of our terrific faculty and staff members who have shared their suggestions for making it through these difficult days in recent Daily Bulletin stories. Robert Delprino, professor of psychology and assistant dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences, talked about finding normalcy in this most unusual time; Carol DeNysschen, professor and chair of the Health, Nutrition, and Dietetics Department, suggested finding a mode of exercise you enjoy to fight stress and stave off pandemic-related weight gain; and Charlene Vetter, Counseling Center clinical manager, suggested reducing stress with meditation by using apps like Headspace and tuning in to free yoga sessions offered by Weigel Health Promotions every Wednesday at noon via Zoom.
Personally, I’ve found that practicing yoga helps manage stress, as does cooking some of my favorite dishes and enjoying old movies with my husband. If you’ve found something that brings you solace, I would love to hear from you.
No doubt, this is a turbulent and disturbing time. It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. And together, we will get through it.
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