Emotional Distress & Substance Abuse

Post courtesy of US HealthWorks

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Workplace woes


Recognize At-Risk Employees

When life takes an unexpected turn for the worse, individuals may increase the use of alcohol, prescription medications, or illegal drugs. This creates a genuine threat to safety in the workplace.

What causes this to occur?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), traumatic events often take place with little warning, creating turmoil for those affected. The feelings of sadness, grief, and anger caused by the event are often coped with by the use of drugs or alcohol.

Research studies have confirmed the link between substance abuse and emotional distress. For example, one such study found that smoking, alcohol consumption, and marijuana use increased among the residents of Manhattan, New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Those who increased the usage of cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be at higher risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How can you help?

By recognizing signs that an employee is experiencing life challenges, and subsequently providing access to resources which can help with recovery, adverse risks can be greatly reduced.

It’s important to know the warning signs of distress:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stomach aches or headaches
  • Feelings of anger
  • Extreme sadness
  • Constant worrying
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty connecting with others
  • Rejecting help from others

Should you suspect an employee is currently experiencing a traumatic life event, encourage them to seek help through agencies such as SAMHSA, that offers a confidential, 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline.

With proper care and treatment, it is possible for individuals to get back on their feet and resume living a quality life. Together, we can help them down this path.

U.S. HealthWorks – 8 Tips to Better Manage the Time Change

Post courtesy of US HealthWorks

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US Health Works Time Change

Rested. Focused. Productive.

a healthy transition to daylight saving time

Helpful Tips for Your Employees

  1. Get ample sleep. Commit to 7-8 hours every night.
  2. Keep a fixed schedule. Maintain consistent sleep and wake times.
  3. Exercise regularly. Even moderate exercise can improve sleep.
  4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both interfere with sleep habits.
  5. Eat a light dinner. Avoid heavy meals and finish eating 2-3 hours before bed.
  6. Relax before bed. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath.
  7. Create a sanctuary. Your room should be cool, quiet, and free of distractions.
  8. Invest in a good mattress. Make sure it provides ample comfort and support.



Workplace Injuries

Accidents happen at work and can sometimes lead to debilitating injuries like stubbed toes or worse!workplace-injury

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when this occurs:

  1. Seek medical attention if needed!
  2. Report your injury to your supervisor and Campus Safety or HR as soon as humanly possible.
  3. Complete an Accident/Incident Report Form, and forward it to Campus Safety.

Our College is insured through the Department of L&I, and your physician will initiate the worker’s compensation process. During your first visit, request copies of the following, and deliver them to Human Resources:

  • Completed Report of Industrial or Occupational Disease
  • Completed Activity Prescription Form (APF)

If you need to miss work, it is your responsibility to contact your supervisor and payroll to coordinate appropriate leave.

Please contact Chernenko Wheatley, Employee & Labor Relations Manager, with any questions.

And remember:

Safety First

Take a Hike!

Posted on behalf of Chernenko Wheatley, Employee & Labor Relations Manager

Spring is right around the corner and with it warmer weather! Don’t forget about the wonderful trails here at Green River. Many of our staff and faculty have enjoyed these, so I say join them, and you will enjoy them too.trailmap

However, if the smell of fresh air, pine trees and wildlife disturb, offend or bring about a severe allergic reaction, then please consider the wellness and fitness programs on campus. We have an awesome Recreation and Athletics Center in the Student Union with a variety of fitness classes. Contact Mollie Gunter for information about hours and fees.

Mumps Outbreak

Posted on behalf of Julie French, Health Services Coordinator

Mumps UpdateFlu Season

In late December, there were news reports of a mumps outbreak in South King County and cases reported in Pierce County. It is important to be aware of the health information in this post, should mumps surface on campus as the winter quarter progresses.

As of January 6th, 2017, there were 123 in King County:

  • 94 cases in Auburn
  • 9 in Kent
  • 5 in Federal Way,
  • 3 in Seattle
  • 3 each in Algona, Covington and Des Moines.
  • 1 each in Bellevue, Black Diamond and Renton

Mumps is a highly contagious, viral illness. We encourage you to help protect the health of our campus, and to prevent the spread of mumps to our local communities by educating yourself about mumps and taking reasonable precautions.

Mumps Facts

  • Mumps is a virus that infects the salivary glands and can be spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions and saliva. It can be spread before the symptoms begin to show.
  • Common symptoms include swelling and tenderness of the cheeks, usually preceded by a fever, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms can develop anywhere from two to four weeks after being exposed to someone with a mumps infection.
  • If you experience these symptoms, you should distance yourself from others and be seen by a healthcare provider.
  • For more information about mumps and immunization effectiveness please check the King County information page.

Julie French
Health Services Coordinator
253-833-9111 ext. 2430


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Courtesy of US HealthWorks

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Reduce the Risk!

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful and progressive condition of the hand and arm. It causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms as a result of a pinched nerve in the wrist. A number of factors contribute to CTS, which may include anatomy of the wrist, repetitive motion and certain underlying health problems.

If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, you have a greater chance of getting CTS. Fortunately, there are specific hand and wrist exercises that can reduce the risk of being afflicted by this syndrome.


Do these exercises every hour. Exercising, taking breaks and stretching can minimize the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.


  • Finger Push Ups: Firmly press each fingertip to its counterpart on the other hand. Spread fingers as far apart as possible. “Steeple” the fingers by separating your palms while keeping your fingertips together.
  • Hand Bends: Hold one hand in front of you with your elbow straight and fingers extended. Use the other hand to apply pressure to your outstretched hand until the wrist and fingers are pointing down at the floor. Hold that position for 20 seconds.
  • The Shake: Shake your hands vigorously as if you are trying to dry them off. This will help to prevent cramping.

Learn More

Source: 3 Wrist Exercises to Prevent Carpal Tunnel, HealthLine.com

SmartHealth and the Seahawks

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon

Win Tickets to a Seahawks Game!


Earn your chance to win Seahawks vs. Panthers tickets*!

You’ve been the 12th MAN (or WOMAN) on the Seahawks team for years. Now, you can win Seahawks tickets by taking care of their MVP: You!

The SmartHealth program is giving away Seahawks tickets!  Two lucky winners will each receive two tickets to the Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on December 4, 2016. To be automatically entered into the drawing, eligible PEBB Program subscribers must complete the following steps by September 30, 2016:

  1. Visit www.smarthealth.hca.wa.gov and select Get started.
  2. Complete the SmartHealth Well-being Assessment.
    If you don’t have Internet access, you can complete the Well-being Assessment by phone (1-855-750-8866), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time.
  3. Join and complete activities to earn total 2,000 points.

Winners will be announced the week of October 3–7, 2016. Eligible PEBB Program subscribers can complete the following SmartHealth activities and more to reach 2,000 points:

  • Mindful Eating. Be mindful during meals for weight control.
  • The Magic Hour. Unplug from technology up to an hour before bed for better sleep.
  • Protect Your Back. Restore your back with strength-training exercises and by stretching regularly.
  • Blast Fat Fast. Combine cardio and strength training for better heart health.

*For drawing details and rules, visit www.hca.wa.gov/pebb.