FOR COLLEAGUES EXPERIENCING EMOTIONAL, RELATIONAL, BEHAVIORAL, OR MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS
- Know that you are not alone. Stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, racial battle fatigue, and other distressing experiences happen to many of us in the SDSU community. These can manifest in a variety of ways: disruption of sleep or appetite, exhaustion, difficulty resting or disconnecting from work, difficulty concentrating, anger, increased conflict with others, heightened sensitivity, feeling like you need to withdraw from others, hypervigilance, having your thoughts interrupted repeatedly by unwelcome worries or preoccupations, and so on. Many individuals experience ups and downs in their emotional, mental, and neurological health over the course of their lives and careers; the pandemic has only made that even more common.
- You do not have to keep it to yourself. We are working as a community to destigmatize these common health concerns. At the same time, your background or culture may play a role in how you experience or manage emotional, relational, behavioral, or mental health. Some communities turn readily to medical or therapeutic treatment; in others, there may be stigma associated with seeking professional help, or traditional means of restoring well-being are preferred. The important thing is to know that the community is here for you and there are resources available.
- Although SDSU's Counseling and Psychological Services primarily serves students, their guidance on self care strategies and skills applies to everyone.
- Free, confidential consultation on emotional and mental health concerns with qualified professionals is available right now as a benefit of your employment. To learn more about the Empathia service, view this video. To access this service immediately, call 1-800-367-7474, or log in here, with login code SDSU1 . The Empathia Life Matters site features confidential self-assessments for anxiety, depression, and alcohol use disorders, as well as information about many common emotional health issues.
- Individuals who have received Western mental health diagnoses to understand their emotional, relational or behavioral health concerns are protected under federal employment law against discrimination on the basis of their medical condition.
- SDSU employee health benefits include coverage for many mental and emotional health services. To learn more, consult the CalPERS Benefit Booklet.
- To locate a mental health care provider (including therapists trained to work bilingually with BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and various disenfranchised communities), visit It’s Up 2 Us San Diego. African-American colleagues may also wish to consult San Diego Community Connections for Black Mental Wellness.
- If you receive a diagnosis or are living with a diagnosis or a form of neurodiversity that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you can request accommodations through the Center for Human Resources.
- If you are in imminent risk, get inmediate help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (more information here.)
- For evidence-based practices to support emotional and mental well-being, please visit the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good In Action Science Center here.
FOR DIRECTORS, SUPERVISORS AND MANAGERS
Many staff are reporting heightened levels of stress in connection with the pandemic, its impacts on family and friends, and an expanded role in addressing student emotional health needs. These heightened stress levels can initiate or exacerbate existing emotional, behavioral, relational, mental, physical, or neurological health concerns experienced and can be expressed in many different forms given the broad cultural differences among the SDSU community. This in turn may lead to miscommunication that can negatively impact work and relationships between and among colleagues.
Positive, genuine and equity-minded supportive messaging from unit leaders can help foster expectations for how colleagues treat each other in the workplace, build a community of understanding and support, and normalize or destigmatize conversations about emotional, mental, relational, or neurological health matters. This messaging could include proactive sharing of resources such as those on this page, and clearly stating your commitment to supporting staff who need to utilize these resources.
Directors, supervisors and other managers in particular can lead their staff by setting limits and boundaries on working hours and professional communications. Research clearly shows that the invasive nature of telework–for example, texting for work and emailing after hours or on weekends–makes it difficult for employees to have the “down time” or recovery time that allows them to reset, repair, and rest that is essential to their continued functioning. The ConnectWell resources compiled by SDSU Psychology professor (and CIE Faculty Fellow) Dr. Lacie Barber provide background on this research and concrete advice for strategies to reduce this telepressure.
Of course, managers are people too, and are likely experiencing the same stressors and concerns their colleagues are–if not more intensely. Please consider utilizing the same resources you offer your staff, and if you would like additional support, contact your AVP, or another trusted colleague.
If a staff member self-discloses an emotional or mental health concern or diagnosis:
- Thank them for confiding in you.
- Assure them that their well-being is important and that they are not alone: many people experience ups and downs in their emotional, mental, and neurological health over the course of their careers.
- Acknowledge the exceptional stressors of the pandemic.
- Encourage them to visit this site for information about ways to access care and campus support.
- Reflect upon how you can help improve working conditions within your unit to create a more supportive environment.
Under the law, individuals with health concerns, diagnoses or disabilities may voluntarily self-disclose to employers, supervisors, or co-workers. Self-disclosure does not authorize an employer, supervisor, or co-worker to discuss with others. However, if you are concerned that a colleague is in imminent risk of self-harm, please call SDSU Campus Safety: 619-594-1991.