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Help put your mind at ease with these 5 resources

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  • February 04, 2019

Winter can be a discouraging time — with its short days, long nights and freezing temperatures, it’s easy to choose staying home over braving cold temperature or let exercise routines lapse in favor of curling up under a blanket.

But for some, feeling more down during the winter months can be attributed to something more serious. Major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern, more commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), affects as many as 10 million Americans, according to Psychology Today, and can manifest itself through feelings of hopelessness or sadness, hypersomnia, changes in appetites, weight gain, drops in energy levels, irritability, avoidance of social situations and even thoughts of suicide.

UAB offers employees, students and the Birmingham community many resources for coping with SAD and other mental health issues, from distance-counseling services to group art-therapy classes, plus ways to report concerning behavior in others.

Take advantage of the EACC

Take advantage of the EACC

The Employee Assistance and Counseling Center is a one-stop shop for mental health resources for UAB employees. A dedicated team of certified counselors offers in-person counseling — 12 sessions per year for free — for employees and their immediate household members and a myriad other wellness events and programs, including distance counseling through Zoom for some employees, tobacco-cessation groups, financial wellness counseling and life coaching.

The EACC also offers monthly programs and events such as yoga and pilates, plus art therapy sessions in their new Self-Care Studio. They also host workshops on everything from self-esteem to dealing with the stresses of finding a home or apartment.

Curious about how you’re feeling and wonder if the EACC can help you? Try their recommended online screenings on everything from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and more.
Recommend friends and neighbors to the Community Counseling Clinic

Recommend friends and neighbors to the Community Counseling Clinic

More than a thousand people seeking low-cost mental health services have been served by UAB’s Community Counseling Clinic since it opened in 2011. The clinic offers individual, group, family, and couple and marital counseling services and accepts clients ages 8 and older.

Well-trained graduate students, supervised by experienced faculty members, conduct all counseling sessions. Clients are accepted through referrals from hospitals and other providers, social service directories such as 2-1-1 Connects Alabama, and self-referrals. Fees are determined by income and family size and range from $5 per individual session to no more than $30 per session.
Encourage students to seek help

Encourage students to seek help

If a student is struggling to adjust to the collegiate lifestyle or dealing with interpersonal or family issues, Student Counseling Services (SCS), located in the Learning Resource Center building, can offer support.

SCS provides individual and group mental health services, prevention and outreach programming, crisis and emergency support and consultation services. Those include eating disorder treatment and gender transition services and advocates for safe and inclusive learning environments in the university community. See a full list of services online.
Call BTAM if you see something wrong

Call BTAM if you see something wrong

Any employee who notices concerning behavior or emotional changes in a colleague, student — or even themselves — can file an anonymous report with the Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management team, comprising members from the university and UAB Health System, which uses a structured process to evaluate and manage behavioral threats to the safety and well-being of the campus community.

Keep an eye out for these concerning behaviors:
  • Radical changes in a person’s behavior, academic or workplace performance, appearance or conduct
  • Aggressive or irrational behavior through words and/or actions
  • Severe depression, unhappiness or irregular emotional behavior
  • Inability to control anger or confrontational or disturbing words or actions
  • Unusual overreaction to normal circumstances
  • Stalking in any form

For non-imminent threats, reports can be made to BTAM anonymously by completing an online form or contacting a BTAM member. Read more about BTAM online.
Plan ahead for next year

Plan ahead for next year

The National Alliance for Mental Illness recommends employees who feel more down in the winter months plan for its arrival in various ways, from getting more exercise toward the end of summer, starting a therapy regimen around September and planning a vacation to a sunny spot in January.  They also recommend asking a physician about light therapy, which consists of regular, daily exposure to a light box, which artificially simulates sunlight. Light boxes can be purchased for home use.