State Employee Suicide Prevention

Suicide PreventionOver the past year, a number of individuals have been involved with an interagency work group headed up by our state’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to address the troubling reality of suicide. The work group’s first outcome is the recent release of the new state employee suicide prevention website. There are six main sections: Get Help Now; Help a Loved One; Help a Coworker; Manager and HR Resources; If You Have Lost Someone to Suicide; and Understanding Suicide. Click on the link below for more information.

Suicide Prevention and Intervention Resources

Frontline: Helpful Hints and Tips

EAP

Our Employee Assistance Program continues to be a wonderful source of helpful information! This month’s EAP newsletter, Frontline, offers tips about a number of issues including:

  • Gratitude
  • To-do lists
  • Positive thinking/attitudes
  • Fitness ideas for the desk worker

Click the link below to take advantage of more ways to improve your work relationships and beyond!

EAP Newsletter

Last Chance to Enroll in Long-term Disability

Reminder  Last Chance to Enroll in Long-term Disability

There are just a few days left to enroll in Long-term Disability, which ends on March 31, 2019. This was special, one-time open enrollment opportunity for optional long-term disability insurance. Click the highlighted link above to find out how you can enroll.

 

Enroll in Long-term Disability during the month of March

From March 1 through March 31, 2019, you will have a special, one-time open enrollment opportunity for optional long-term disability insurance. You can enroll or reduce your waiting period without providing evidence of insurability (proof of good health). Normally, you must submit proof of good health to take these actions after your initial 31-day eligibility period for PEBB benefits.

This opportunity is available to employees whose employer offers LTD insurance. Changes made during March 2019 will be effective May 1, 2019. Learn more about optional LTD, or calculate your LTD insurance needs, on The Standard’s website.

If you haven’t enrolled in optional LTD in the past, or didn’t want to provide proof of good health, now is a great time to reconsider this benefit.

Note: The current preexisting condition exclusion and 12-month exclusion period will still apply during the one-time open enrollment. Please read your certificate of coverage carefully to understand this benefit.

How do I take advantage of this opportunity?

To enroll or reduce your waiting period, complete the Long-Term Disability One-time Open Enrollment/Change Form and submit it to your personnel, payroll, or benefits office by March 31, 2019.

It’s time for flu shots!

On behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Benefits Manager:

Flu ShotThe Seattle Visiting Nurse Association (SVNA) will be conducting a flu immunization clinic at Green River College again this year!  The clinic is scheduled for:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 12 noon

Student Union – Emerald City Room

Please see the links below for the Patient Consent Form, Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) and the Seattle Visiting Nurses’ Association Privacy Statement. You don’t need to sign up for your flu shot, just show up with your completed Patient Consent Form on the day of the clinicSVNA also recommends you bring your insurance card to the clinicEveryone will need to complete the Patient Consent Form; the information is required in order to process the billing.

2018 Patient Consent Form

Vaccine Information Statement

Privacy Practices

SVNA provides the standard Quadrivalent (four strains). The nurses carry a small amount of Thimerosal-Free (preservative free) which they offer to pregnant women as required by WA State regulations. The nurse may accommodate a request by non-pregnant participants for the T-Free vaccine if there are enough doses available at the time of the clinic.  SVNA generally gives the standard Quadrivalent vaccine to all non-pregnant participants unless requested otherwise.  SVNA does not offer the high dose vaccine for those over 65 years old, the egg-free vaccine, flu mist (nasal spray) or pneumonia vaccine.

 What are the payment options?

  1. SVNA can bill directly for nearly all major insurance plans (they will bill your PEBB Uniform or Kaiser plans).  The insurance information will be provided by you on the attached Patient Consent FormSVNA recommends you bring your insurance card to the clinic.
  2. Pay cash/check – If a participant is uninsured or if it’s a plan SVNA does not bill, the participant may pay in cash or by check at the time the vaccination is given.  SVNA does not take debit or credit cards.  The standard Quadrivalent flu shot is $40.

Update your Emergency Contacts

EmergencyThe office of Human Resources and Legal Affairs wants to remind our valued faculty and staff to take time to review and update your emergency contact information! It is extremely important that we have emergency contact information available.

For Full Time Faculty, Exempt Classified and Adjunct employees

You can update your emergency contact information at any time on the Human Resources page on the GatorNet (see link below for the form and instructions).

Go to: Emergency Contact Information Change and Instructions

For Part-Time Hourly employees

Please complete an Emergency Contact Information form (see link below) and either scan and send to hr@greenriver.edu, or drop off in our office located in the Human Resources building south on Mathews Way next to the Student Union building.

Go to: Emergency Contact Information

Supervisors, please encourage your employees to review their current information. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Frontline – June 2018

EAP

As we’ve noted before, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers us a wealth of information and opportunities to improve our lives at work and away. One of the great resources they offer is the monthly Frontline newsletter. Check the link below for this month’s informative articles!

Frontline Newsletter

Frontline: EAP News and Helpful Hints

EAP

Our Employee Assistance Program continues to be a wonderful source of helpful information! This month’s EAP newsletter offers tips about a number of issues including:

  • Distracted driving
  • Social media
  • Workplace defensiveness
  • Procrastination

Click the link below to take advantage of more ways to improve your work relationships and beyond!

EAP Newsletter

Green Dot Comes to Green River!

This week, a few of our Green River colleagues traveled to Edmonds for a four-day training on preventing dating violence, sexual violence and stalking. Green Dot is a nationally recognized bystander intervention program that seeks to prevent dating and sexual violence by leveraging students, faculty and staff as allies. “It relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined effect is a safe campus culture that is intolerant of violence. The college-based curriculum draws heavily on the experiences of college students and the reality of this issue in their lives. This curriculum uses interactive activities to reinforce core concepts and encourages students to envision their future and the world in which they want to live, then aligns their bystander behavior with that vision.”

We look forward to learning some new ways that we can keep Green River a safe and supportive environment!

Our Green River delegation: Chernenko Wheatley – Employee and Labor Relations, Deborah Tugaga – Career and Advising Center, Marvin Viney – Campus Safety, Chelsie Taresh Ciscell – TRiO

Marvin

EAP Update

In December, we let you know about the new services our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) offers, including legal and financial services. We’d like to take a moment to remind you of those services as well as bring you a few updates!

  • Now there’s a new website shortcut for the EAP: bit.ly/eapweb. Once you enter (or copy and paste) you’ll enter our organization code GRC to get access.
  • In addition to the great resources you already know about, did you know that our EAP also offers free e-learning and online seminars? These valuable professional development trainings are available in the orange boxes just on the main page. Trainings are about 15-20 mins long and offer you the option to print your certificate of completion!

See the flyer below for more options from our Employee Assistance Program!

EAP

GRC is Drug Free!

From the desk of Marshall Sampson, Vice President of Human Resources and Legal Affairs

Happy New Year and welcome back to those of you who weren’t here during the breakDrug free!  Whether you were here or not, I hope that you saw my very important email regarding the Annual Drug Free Schools & Communities Act Notice for employees of Green River College.  It had all sorts of information which is now available on our website at: https://www.greenriver.edu/campus/human-resources/drug-free-schools-and-communities-act/

As a form of enticement to get our readership up, anyone who correctly responded by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3rd with the correct answers was placed in a drawing with one winner from each employee group (Full-Time Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, Classified Staff, and Exempt Staff) winning a $5 Starbucks Gift Card donated by me:

  • By RCW,  it is prohibited to sell or misrepresent a substance as an illicit drug.  Any person who violates the RCW shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a CLASS C FELONY.
  • The possible side effects of narcotics are euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, respiratory depression. There are eight narcotics listed.  The seventh is FENTANYL.
  • The phone number for the Employee Assistance Plan is 877-313-4455.
  • In compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-free Schools and Communities Act (As amended in 1989), Green River college has a policy statement which reads in part, “Employees must, as a condition of working on any Green River College contract or grant, abide by the terms of this statement; and notify the employee’s supervisor not later than FIVE (5) days after any conviction for a criminal drug statute violation that occurred in the workplace.”
  • Sending this email is Marshall’s ___________ part of his job.

I will admit that you all had creative answers.  Nobody got the last one correct but there were some great guesses out there.  Also, I appreciate those of you who included bonus points and other creative ways in an attempt to become one of the winners.  It may have worked.  The winners are:

Yvonne Huang – Classified

Krish Mahadevan – Faculty

Leslie Soule – Adjunct Faculty

Adrienne Palmer – Exempt

Shirley Bean – Admin

Please stop by AD-17 to pick up your gift card.

Stress Management at GRC

Posted on behalf of the Environmental Health and Safety Committee. The Environmental Health and Safety Committee evaluates and recommends ways to make our work environment safer for employees and students.

stressWhile stress may not be a physical or visible safety concern, it is still a concern. Everyone deals with some level of stress on a daily basis. Sometimes work pressures can increase an already high stress level. The approaching holiday season can also compound stress levels, making even simple tasks seem overwhelming. If left unchecked, stress can have many effects on our mental and physical well-being. The good news is that there are many resources to help manage stress and daily steps you can take to minimize its effects.

Getting outside for just a few minutes and breathing fresh air can make a big difference in how we handle stressful situations. Just getting up from your desk and walking around anywhere can help. Interacting with co-workers, eating lunch together and having a chance to laugh or smile can boost your mood immediately.

One of the many benefits to working at Green River College is the amazing setting. There are several miles of trails right outside the doors of our buildings. Walking along those trails is a great way to reduce stress levels. On sunny days, you can even walk out and see Mt. Rainier!

If you are feeling stressed please visit some of the following links to get tips on how to cope. There are many other resources not included here, and Green River College also makes counseling services available to both employees and students.

https://www.greenriver.edu/campus/campus-resources/counseling-services/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/coping-with-stress/art-20048369

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-in-the-workplace.htm

It’s Open Enrollment Time!

OPEN ENROLLMENT RUNS FROM NOVEMBER 1st – 30th

Changes you can make:Open Enrollment

  • Change your medical or dental plan, including waiving for an eligible reason;
  • Add or remove an eligible dependent;
  • Enroll or re-enroll in Medical Flexible Spending or Dependent Care Assistance Program

For more detailed information, see the latest For Your Benefit Newsletter:

https://www.hca.wa.gov/assets/pebb/state-higher-education-newsletter-1710.pdf

 

Get Your Flu Shot!

Student Affairs and the Office of Human Resources & Legal Affairs are teaming up to bring you the annual flu immunization clinic by the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association.  The clinic will be held on Thursday, November 9th from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in theFlu Shot Emerald Room in the Student Union.

You don’t need to sign up for your flu shot, just show up with your completed Patient Consent Form on the day of the clinicSVNA also recommends you bring your insurance card to the clinic.  Completion of the Patient Consent Form prior to the clinic helps for a smooth flow and decreased wait time.

SVNA provides the standard Trivalent (three strains) or the Quadrivalent (four strains). The nurses carry a small amount of Thimerosal-Free (preservative free) which they offer to pregnant women as required by WA State regulations. The nurse may accommodate a request by non-pregnant participants for the T-Free vaccine if there are enough doses available at the time of the clinic.  SVNA generally gives the standard Trivalent vaccine to all non-pregnant participants unless requested otherwise.  SVNA does not offer the high dose vaccine for those over 65 years old, the egg-free vaccine, flu mist (nasal spray) or pneumonia vaccine.

Download a Patient Consent Form:  http://www.seattlevna.com/2017_Patient_Consent_Form_8-15-2017.pdf

What are the payment options?

  1. SVNA can bill directly for nearly all major insurance plans (they will be able to bill your PEBB Uniform or Kaiser plans).  The insurance information will be provided by you on the Patient Consent Form.  SVNA recommends you bring your insurance card to the clinic.
  2. Pay cash/check – If a participant is uninsured or if it’s a plan SVNA does not bill, the participant may pay in cash or by check at the time the vaccination is given.  SVNA does not take credit cards.  The standard Trivalent is $30; Quadrivalent is $40 and Thimerosal Free is $35.

 

If you have questions:  email sgordon@greenriver.edu or jhatleberg@greenriver.edu

Introducing: The Environmental Health and Safety Committee

Welcome to the new school year!  We’d like to introduce the Environmental Health and Safety Committee (EHSC).  The committee meets monthly to review and evaluate campus environmental health and safety issues, work on training, and make recommendations to the college.

caution-wet-floor

Every building on campus has a representative on the committee.  Representatives are elected each Spring Quarter to serve for the following year.

If you have concerns, you can talk to your building representative at any time.  The committee meets the first Monday of every month at 1:00 in the Board Room, and you are always welcome to attend.

Committee Charter

Minutes

Who do I contact if I see a potential health or safety hazard?

·         If it’s an immediate threat, call Safety at x2250 or x3350.

·         If it’s building- or grounds-related, you can call Facilities at x3333.  Don’t assume Facilities already knows about the situation; please call them if you see an issue.

·         You can talk to your EHSC representative at any time.

 

Adrienne Palmer x2741 CH
Amanda Clifford x2400 SU
Anicah Anderson x5003 Enumclaw/Kent/Auburn ext.
Connie Jones x2156 SH
Darlene Oathout x2313 RLC
Marvin Viney x2251 Campus Safety
Erin Tyler x4231 SC
Howard Valenzuela x4111 TT
Jennifer Dysart x2094 HL
Jenny Park x2503 SA/PE
Lauren Cline x4217 Health Services Representative
Marshall Sampson x3320 VP of HR and representing administration
Pete (Guadalupe) Morales x3606 CCA
Rob Olson x3386 Facilities
Robin Bowles x4278 PA
Rocco Wheatley x2595 HR
Ronald Riley x4859 SH
Scott Hemingway x3381 FO/WT
Seth Deister x2136 IV
Spunky Robinson x4418 TC
Tammy Shilipetar x2604 AD

MetLife Advantages

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Benefits Manager

Metlife MotherChild

MetLife Advantages

By now most of us are aware that our life insurance company changed to MetLife during the last Open Enrollment, but are you aware that if you are enrolled in MetLife life insurance through Green River – as an eligible employee – you have access to free services for support, planning and protection when you need it most?

MetLife Advantages” is a comprehensive suite of valuable services that offers free product services to you and your family, such as will preparation and estate resolution services.

The services are offered by third-party vendors, but free for those enrolled in MetLife.*

Find out more about the program here, MetLife Advantages Program. Scroll down and click on the green “Sign in to MyBenefits” link.   (Note: you do not need to sign in –just click on the “Group Life Insurance” tab at the top of the page, then click on the “MetLife Advantages link).

*Note: some services require that you be enrolled in “supplemental” life insurance (more than just the employer-paid basic coverage) in order to utilize the particular resource.

Emotional Distress & Substance Abuse

Post courtesy of US HealthWorks

US HealthWorks Logo1

Workplace woes

EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
& SUBSTANCE ABUSE

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

US HealthWorks Logo1

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.

READ INTERESTING FACTS ON
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

 

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
jfrench@greenriver.edu
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.

CTS

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!

Football

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.

Health and Wellness

Posted on behalf of Julie French, Health Services Coordinator

Wellness means different things to different people. Sometimes it’s taking that 10 minutes to de-stress or its eating fresh from the farmers market. If you are deciding that you need a break from sitting too long at your desk there are a few healthy options for your wellness.

Fitness center and Weight room (in the gym)Weight

Summer Hours:

Monday – Thursday 12pm-12:50pm

Free and open to all employees during this time

Form or join a walking group; take the stairs; walk the trails; conduct a walking meeting; or take a stretching break!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

exerciseThe RAC is open too!

Hours:

Monday – Thursday  10am-7pm,

Friday 12pm-4pm,

Sunday from 12pm-4pm.

The hours will remain the same until the start of fall quarter.

We anticipate that the number of students using the facility will be much lower than what we have seen in previous quarters so it would be a great time to come and test out a RAC quarterly pass! A quarterly pass is $50.00 and can be purchased for summer quarter starting Monday June 13th from the Cashiering Office. We also offer a $5.00 day pass for those just wanting to drop in occasionally for a group fitness class or to shoot some hoops.

Please send an email to mjones@greenriver.edu if you have any questions about the RAC!

 

Julie French
Health Services Coordinator
Prevention Education
Health Services
Green River College
12401 SE 320th ST
Auburn WA  98092-3699
jfrench@greenriver.edu
253-833-9111 ext. 2430

Breathe easy – Green River is now tobacco-free!

Student Success Series Workshops

Posted on behalf of Counseling and Health Services

Counseling and Health Services is pleased to announce our Student Success Series Workshops! These workshops can help students succeed in their educational goals and beyond. We’ve found that students who attend the workshops most frequently hear about them from their instructors. Please let students know about these informative and practical workshops by announcing them in class and/or e-mailing the attached flyer to your students.

  • Tuesday, April 26th – Stress Management
  • Wednesday, April 27th – Mastering Time and Procrastination
  • Thursday, April 28th – Study Skills of Successful Students 

All of the workshops will be in RLC-131 from 12-12:50pm

For more information about our workshops, please visit: http://www.greenriver.edu/student-affairs/counseling-and-health-services.htm

 

Thank you!

Counseling and Health Services (CHS)

Lindbloom Center (LC) 230

Green River Community College

253-833-9111 ext. 2460

12401 SE 320th Street | Auburn, WA 98092

 

Counseling and Health Services Mission Statement

Counseling and Health Services fosters student success and retention by teaching emotional coping techniques, informing and educating students on relevant health and wellness topics, and developing effective self-care skills for optimal lifelong psychological and physical health.

Winners of the Drug Free Schools & Communities Act Drawing

Congratulations to Steve Brumbaugh, Kim Bouchard, Inja Parker and Mariena Mears for winning a Starbucks Gift Card courtesy of Marshall Sampson!

Me_12D

Steve Brumbaugh, Biology

The Annual Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Notice was sent again this year (as annual notices are wont to) to all employees of Green River College.

According to the Department of Education,“While the regulations do not place an affirmative duty on IHEs [Institutions of Higher Education] to ensure that employees read the materials, in keeping with the spirit of the regulations, institutions should take steps to encourage employees to read the policies.”

kimbouchard copy 2

Kim Bouchard, English

What better source of encouragement to maintain a drug-free school environment is there than a Starbucks Gift Card?

One lucky winner from every employee group (Full-Time Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, Classified Staff, and Exempt Staff) was selected at random for a prize from those who read the notice and answered the following correctly:

One of the common complications of the use or abuse of this drug is a ‘bad trip’

The correct answer was of course “Hallucinogens,” “LSD,” or any other acceptable variation.

Inja Parker

Inja Parker, Financial Aid

As an institution receiving federal grant money, we are required by law to maintain a drug-free work place. The supporting laws and regulations along with the relevant consequences for violating them are laid out clearly in the notice.

Drug abuse and addiction is a serious matter and the notice contained a wealth of information about the effects of drugs and alcohol and ways to seek help with addiction.

Find out more from the Department of Education by clicking here.

 

Emergency Management

Posted on behalf of Toya Turner.Auburn Emergency Management

ARE YOU READY for the next big disaster?

Auburn Emergency Management provides FREE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS PRESENTATIONS to help you and your loved ones become more prepared without breaking the bank!

Join us at one of our upcoming workshops in January:

  • Wednesday, January 6
    • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 14
    • 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 23
    • 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Auburn City Hall
Council Chambers
25 W Main St.
Auburn, WA 98001

More information: 253-876-1925 | auburnwa.gov/disaster

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel in the Office

Carpal tunnel is caused by repetitive hand or wrist motions and affects the median nerve in the wrist and can lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hand or arm.  There are many things that you can do that can help prevent carpal tunnel while you are at work or home.  Proper posture and keeping your wrists straight are very important, yet a quick and easy ways to prevent carpal tunnel.  Below are other tips you can use to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel.

  • Your forearms should be level with the keyboard and you should not have to flex in order to type.
  • Hold your hands and wrists at a 90 degree angle with your forearm – If you work at a keyboard, you may have to tilt it to help keep the alignment.
  • Keep elbows close to your side and don’t let your hands, wrists, or elbows rest on any surface while working.
  • Use a pad across the front of the keyboard, this will help cushion and elevate your wrist and reduce the strain that is usually put on them.
  • The way you may be sitting can cause a strain on your wrist – Make sure your chair is adjusted to the correct height
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time – Take breaks every 10 to 15 minutes to stretch and rotate your wrists.
  • If the task only requires the use of one hand for repetitive motion try and switch hands – Using both hands will help reduce the strain you are putting on them.
  • Avoid gripping things (such as a tool or mouse) too tightly – Many people tend to grip pens and other equipment tighter than necessary which can cause the muscles to strain.

Arm and wrist muscle stretches are an easy way to prevent carpel tunnel.  Below are a few easy exercises you can do at your desk to help reduce the risk of carpal tunnel.

  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing forward – Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Straighten both wrists and relax your fingers. They should by pointing in front of you but not stiff. Then make a fist with both hands, bend both wrist down so your knuckles are facing the floor – Hold this position for five seconds.
  • Let your arms hang loosely at your side. Shake them for a few seconds – Repeat this ten times.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel in the Office

Prevent Machinery Related Injuries

Crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, and blindness are just a few of the long horrifying list of possible machinery-related injuries.

Stop Button

Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded to ensure you are protecting yourself while operating machinery.  Accidents usually result from a combination of factors that include both hazardous machine conditions and careless human actions.  Safety procedures like Lockout/Tagout are critical for the service and maintenance of machinery or electrical systems where employees or students could be hurt by the unexpected start up, or energization, of the equipment.

Safety Tips:

  • Recognize the hazards by identifying all actions and hazards associated with each piece of equipment or machinery.
  • Ensure proper use of safeguarding and reinforce the program by training, education and enforcement.
  • Develop an effective Lockout/Tagout program to ensure that machines and circuits are properly shut off or de-energized to prevent unexpected startups.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing and jewelry and keep long hair tied back.
  • Use proper methods of safeguarding.

Poster-Eye-Protection2

It’s Flu Shot Time!

Posted on behalf of Health Services.

It’s that time of year again. We are well into the quarter and remember it takes a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to give you the resistance. Planning ahead for the flu season is a good idea.

Flu Shot Time

The next visit from Seattle Visiting Nurse Association is schedule for:

  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015
    4:30pm-6:00pm in SA, St. Helens room

Don’t forget to review the Patient Consent Form and Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). Completion of the Patient Consent form prior to the clinic helps for a smooth flow and decreased wait time. Lastly, here’s some promotional items on No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine and FLU F.A.C.T.S. t o be aware of.

If you are not using your insurance coverage they take only check or cash (28.00). For more information contact Julie French.

What a Pain – Elbow Sprains and Strains

Tennise-ElbowRepetitive stress injuries are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons that are caused by performing the same motion over and over again. Common repetitive motion injuries are carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis or “tennis elbow.”

Epicondylitis or “tennis elbow” typically is caused by using certain tools over and over for long periods of time, often in an awkward position. Injuries of this type are painful and can be debilitating, so it’s important to identify repetitive tasks and take steps to reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries.

Ways to Prevent Elbow Sprains and Strains:

  • Look for a tool that needs less force to use and a handle that fits your hand well.
  • Make sure that the tools you use are in good condition.
  • Keep your wrists as straight as possible when using tools.
  • Use power tools when possible to minimize stress on wrists, hands, and arms.
  • Keep tools in good condition to reduce vibration and the force required to use them.

Get Ready for Flu Season!

Flu season is here again, so make sure to don your NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) gear before leaving the house!Flu Season

Or, thanks to Julie French from Health Services, you can consider getting a flu shot right here on campus:

Seattle Visiting Nurse Association will be providing flu immunization for Green River affiliates this year in the St. Helens Room (SA Student Affairs and Success Center formerly known as the Lindbloom Center). The clinic is scheduled for:

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 8:00am – 10:00am & Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 4:30pm – 6:00pm

You can expect an email soon from Julie with the necessary Patient Consent forms, HIPPAA Notice of Privacy and other flu prevention materials.

Without insurance the fee is 28.00 cash or check.

If you are interested in learning more about the flu, the CDC has a ton of facts for curious readers and people who enjoy movies like Outbreak and Contagion.

New Health Plan Options Coming in 2016

screenshot-PEBB-newsletterThe Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program will offer three new plan options in the Puget Sound area, starting January 1, 2016. These plans are designed to promote higher quality through enhanced care coordination.

More Coordinated Care

These new plans will include a broad array of providers and health systems for members to choose from within the integrated network. These providers and health systems will work together to:

• Encourage you to use a primary care network provider to be your partner in making medical decisions.
• Allow all network providers, including both physical and mental health, access to your medical records for better care coordination and efficiency.
• Avoid duplicate tests and services.
• Focus on improving your overall health.

For complete information related to this topic, be sure to view the “For Your Benefit” newsletter from the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program.

Common Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Misconceptions

PPEPersonal protective equipment (PPE) helps to keep millions of employees safe in the workplace. From goggles to steel-toe boots, PPE plays a vital part in reducing employee exposure to hazards.  Below are common PPE misconceptions:

  • “If my staff won’t wear PPE, I can’t make them”
    • If PPE has been deemed necessary, then it is not optional and employers can require its use.
  • “The more PPE I wear the better”
    • Overprotection and under protection can be equally dangerous, according to the Kimberly-Clark Professional: Exceptional Workplaces website.
      • Overprotection may lead to heat stress caused by wearing too many layers.
      • Under protection may lead to chronic health problems after years of exposure to certain hazardous substances.
      • Find PPE that offers the best protection and that provides the greatest comfort to the wearer.
  • “Gloves are slippery, I can’t get a good grip” or “I can’t wear gloves, I have a latex allergy”
    • Find gloves that have a textured finish on the fingertips, they will make it easier to grasp small and lightweight objects such as test tubes and glassware.
    •  Individuals with a latex allergy can switch to a alternative, such as nitrile, neoprene or vinyl gloves.
  • “This job will only take a minute, I can skip putting on PPE” Or “One piece of PPE is good enough”
    • It only takes a second for an accident to occur. Whether the job only puts you in a hazardous situation for 10 minutes or 10 hours, you still need to have on all required PPE. Exceptions lead to injuries and deaths.PPE
    • You need to wear all PPE that is required for a particular job. If you don’t, it could have serious ramifications, like injury and death. While working with chemicals you may be wearing glasses to protect your eyes, but if you’re not wearing gloves or a proper jacket your hands and body are vulnerable to chemical burns. When deciding what types of PPE are needed for a job, consider all areas of the body, from head to toe and everywhere in between.
  • “Cleaning and storing PPE isn’t that important”
    • After each use, PPE must be properly cleaned and stored according to their instructions. If PPE is damaged it won’t function the way it’s intended which leaves you open to injury and health hazards. Damaged or worn-out PPE should be immediately be replaced.

Understanding the Work Schedule

What does it mean to take a lunch or a break at work? Green River College and the Washington State Legislature have outlined what overtime-eligible employees are entitled to:

According to WAC 296-126-092, the rules for meal and rest periods are as follows:

Meal Periods:

“Employees shall be allowed a meal period of at least thirty minutes which commences no less than two hours nor more than five hours from the beginning of the shift. Meal periods shall be on the employer’s time when the employee is required by the employer to remain on duty on the premises or at a prescribed work site in the interest of the employer.”

“No employee shall be required to work more than five consecutive hours without a meal period.”

Rest Periods:

“Employees shall be allowed a rest period of not less than ten minutes…for each four hours of working time. Rest Periods shall be scheduled as near as possible to the midpoint of the work period. No employee shall be required to work more than three hours without a rest period.”

The Washington State and WFSE have a few modifications found in Ch. 7 of the CBA:

“Unpaid meal periods for employees working more than five (5) consecutive hours, if entitled, will be a minimum of thirty (30) minutes and will be scheduled as close to the middle of the work shift as possible, taking into account the Employer’s work requirements and the employee’s wishes…Meal periods may not be used for late arrival or early departure from work and meal and rest periods will no be combined.”

“Employees will be allowed rest periods of fifteen (15) minutes for each one half (1/2) shift of four (4) or more hours worked at or near the middle of each one half (1/2) shift of four (4) or more hours.”

Wolf

The Wolf 06 by X posid, courtesy of PublicDomain Pictures.net

What does all this mean for Green River employees?

Let’s take a look at Johnny Snow, a security guard 3 with Campus Safety, whose standard day begins at 8:00am and finishes at 5:00pm (although his watch never truly ends). Mr. Snow works more than five consecutive hours a day, so he and his supervisor agree to have him take a meal break at the middle of his shift starting at 12:00pm and ending at 1:00pm. This gives him just enough time to share a few slices of dried, salted meat with his pet wolf. Johnny’s morning hours at work from 8:00am to 12:00pm fulfill the half-shift criterion, so he can take a 15-minute rest period at some point within that timeframe. The same follows for his afternoon work-period from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

What if Johnny worked only six hours each day? If he started at 8:00am and ended at 3:00pm, he could have a single break period for 15 minutes at 10:00am, and still take his lunch from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. If Johnny worked less than six hours a day, he would still be entitled to meal and break periods according to the rules listed above (i.e. he gets a meal period as long as he works five consecutive hours and a break for every four.)

Seem complicated? Just remember the following:

The WAC and CBA rules establish the minimum meal and break times that overtime-eligible employees must take at work.

Determining your schedule should involve your supervisor, and if there are any questions you can always reach out to your HR department for clarification.

Confined Spaces Safety

Confined spaces are either partially or completely enclosed working environments. They are only meant for short term single worker occupancy and are dangerous. Only trained workers who understand the hazards and dangers as well as all safety requirements are allowed to enter these areas.

The workplace safety infographic below identifies the four key characteristics of confined spaces and provides a clear explanation and illustration for safety.

Confined Spaces Safety

Courtesy of Compliance & Safety

Supporting a Work-Life Balance

Work-Life-Balance-Environment

It’s just like the animal kingdom…but in my office.

Today I came back to the office and was greeted by a seemingly endless supply of stuffed animals. Yup…teddy bears, frogs, a tigger character, pound puppies, a hippo, a piglet, and a surprising collection of yellow ducks. I counted more than 50 animals in my office today. Immediately, my mind was put at ease and I couldn’t help but crack up at my coworkers and the great sense of humor they have.

Work-Life-Balance-Guilty

The individuals pictured have been found guilty of office decoration to the 10th degree. More guilty parties will be identified.

You see, I had been gone on an extended vacation for about 2.5 weeks on a family trip to Japan. Basically, I’d been off the grid entirely and worried (throughout my vacation, on the drive to work, and before ever booting up my computer) about what I had missed while away. Did I leave all projects in a finished state? Was there anything I forgot to do before I left? What if someone needed a new training account created while I was away? How could Green River continue to operate while I was out of the office?

Work-Life-Balance-DoNotEnter

Keep Out! Animal Infestation!

Okay, some of those concerns are slightly exaggerated, but most of them are based on reality. We live in a world in which we are constantly connected. We have seemingly unlimited access, especially if we enable our mobile devices, to all that happens in the office. Every year employees just like me (up to 40% according to a recent study) don’t use all of their vacation days. If work can be so stressful, and employees feel so much pressure, why is that that they/we don’t take much needed or deserved breaks?

I’d be the first to admit that it’s convenient to instantly verify my schedule for the following day (which helps me determine when to leave the house, what to prep for upon arrival, and even what to wear). I sometimes have to remind myself that I shouldn’t be scanning work email nights and weekends. It’s one thing to love what I do and be so actively engaged in my work that checking in seems like fun. It’s another thing entirely to feel the continuous pressure to perform before, during, and even after scheduled hours.

Work-Life-Balance-Selfie

One way to create a stress-free work environment.

Personally, I’ve imposed a self-restriction to limit access to all things that feel like work and focus only on that which prepares me for the next day (such as my work calendar). I simply don’t check or log in to work email once I’ve left the office. I don’t respond to social media channels (those set up through the department) after hours. If I see an interesting article that directly relates to my job duties, I consider forwarding it my work email for future reading and annotation. This system seems to work well and provides flexibility, all the while allowing me to focus on what really matters outside of the office (my family). This approach, plus the fact that I’m been out of the office for just over 2.5 weeks, means that I’m now back with a new outlook on existing challenges and a refreshed view of the world as a whole.

Work-Life Balance Tips for Supervisors

  1. Focus on final output instead of individual process. This empowers employees to ensure work is accomplished, even if it means working a different schedule than others.
  2. Create realistic, time-based, achievable goals and hold employees accountable. This ensures employees are given freedom, but also perform.
  3. Encourage a work-life balance amongst the team (vacations, flexible schedules, children’s sports games, etc.). Added flexibility keeps employees around longer.

Further Reading

Seasonal Safety – Hello Summer! Part 2

Summer Safety TipsTypically we are still anticipating the warm summer days this time of year, but summer has arrived with record breaking force. While some of us are excited for summer’s long days filled with warmth and fun, there can be a not-so-sunny side to hot summer days.  Visits to the emergency room tend to peak during summertime.

Don’t let summertime hazards ruin your summer; from heat-related illness to water safety, from travel to cookouts, Kaiser Permanente has some great safety tips to protect ourselves and our family. They’ve also created this awesome infographic that would be a perfect reminder to post on your fridge.

Enjoy the Summer Sun, But Be Safe!

Employee Frontline: Helpful Information from the EAP

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon:

Frontline

 

In this month’s Frontline Employee Newsletter:

  • Reducing Stress through Structure
  • Diversity: Welcoming New Employees
  • How to Stop Being an Enabler
  • Making Better Use of Your Lunch Hour and more!

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) helps WA State Government employees and their family members resolve personal or work-related problems. This program is confidential and doesn’t cost you anything.  

Visit EAP on the web at www.hr.wa.gov/eap.

Seasonal Safety – Hello Summer!

Weather Forecast

Stay Safe! We’ve got a heat wave coming!

As we say goodbye to spring and hello to warm Summer days, we need to be aware of hazards that summer weather can negatively effect your health and well-being.

When working outdoors in the hot summer months, cover up, use sunscreen, and limit exposure to UV rays which are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun can be very damaging to your skin if it is left unprotected so make sure to use sunscreen and dress appropriately. Keep all clothing light colors. Darker fabric will attract and absorb the sun.  Wear clothes that breath. Nothing should be too tight, this allows fresh air to flow over your skin and help you stay cool. Sunglasses and hats are great accessories for the summer season. Sunglasses will help to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and hats are great at preventing sunburn and they also help keep your body slightly cooler.

Heat illness can be deadly, always remember: water, rest, shade. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids like water or Gatorade, stay away from sugary soda and energy drinks as they can speed up dehydration. Take breaks and go indoors or into an air-conditioned car. It is important to allow your body a chance to recover from the heat. If you feel dizzy, weak or nauseous take a break immediately. If your symptoms do not go away after getting out of the heat, you should seek medical attention.

Working in an office does not mean you are exempt from summertime hazards.  Flip-flops are notorious for slips, trips, and falls. Open-toed shoes and sandals are also notorious for creating workplace safety hazards.

Be prepared and stay safe during these hot summer months.

Summertime and the Eating is Easy

Summer brings an abundance of tasty and nutritious foods, including berries (loaded with antioxidants), tomatoes, sweet bell peppers (vitamin C), melons, peas, lettuce and much more.

Wellness-Fruits-Veggies

Eating more fruits and vegetables year-round is a challenge. If we eat what’s recommended (5-9 servings of fruits and or vegetables) maybe we would eat less junk food!

Summer is a great time to explore local farmers markets. Since local produce doesn’t have to travel far, the prices are often lower. If your curious about our local farmers market click on these for more information.

http://www.auburnwa.gov/page70.aspx

http://www.localharvest.org/

NOT ME – Diabetes Prevention Program

NOT ME Diabetes Prevention Program

Type 2 diabetes threatens 1 in 3 Americans, and 90 percent of these people don’t know they’re at risk. The NOT ME Prevention Program works with your health plan to help you:

  1. Know your pre-diabetes risk
  2. Find out if you have pre-diabetes
  3. Learn how to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes​

What is NOT ME?

PEBB teamed up with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) to bring members the NOT ME Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). DPP focuses on pre-diabetes. At an early stage, practical, everyday steps may reverse pre-diabetes and help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the key, and this program is available at no cost to eligible PEBB members. NOT ME provides a 16-week series of hour-long group coaching sessions held by specially trained coaches. The NOT ME classes include nutrition counseling, private weekly weigh-ins, a detailed program handbook, and follow-up monthly maintenance.

How do I know if I am eligible?

To find out more PEBB – NOT ME DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM

Why Mental Health Matters at Work – What I Learned

The stigma associated with mental illness can be one of the greatest barriers to psychological health and safety in the workplace, especially for employees struggling with stress, depression or anxiety. Mental health is one of leading causes of lost productivity.

The first step in eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness starts with us. By educating ourselves and others it can increase awareness so people feel comfortable seeking help sooner. They will recover faster and maintain productivity which reduces strain on employees and employers.

Mental disorders are like any other medical condition. They are highly treatable and for Fight the stigma associated with mental illnessmany individuals, recovery is possible. Mental health and wellness are essential to overall health.

This message needs to be further emphasized to break those stigma barriers.

As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, we cannot let its mission fade. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness — taking action to help yourself is a sign of strength. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Who should you contact for help?

Be the one to help someone suffering from mental illness

Why Mental Health Matters at Work–Stress in the Workplace

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Main Physiological Reactions to Stress

Approximately more than 25% of Americans would describe themselves as “super-stressed.”  Stress-related issues are continuously rising and can adversely affect how people think, act, and react, which can compromise not only our health and productivity, but also our safety.

Often a healthy work-life balance seems impossible with juggling heavy workloads, managing relationships, family responsibilities, and fitting in social activities. The stressors in our daily life can be hard to turn off and keep us in a constant state of stress.

While some stress is normal, if our bodies stay in a constant state of stress for too long, we can develop or worsen health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and decreased immune system. Too much stress can also lead to substance abuse and serious mental health problems, like depression and anxiety disorders.

If we’re experiencing excessive stress in the workplace it can make the difference between success or failure. Common stress related symptoms include anxiety, frustration, poor judgment, memory lapses and difficulty concentrating or making decisions that can translate into burnout, accidents, injuries and other mishaps on the job. Ignoring safety procedures or not using proper safety gear is just one example of how stress may interfere with our behavior and cause workplace safety problems. Stress in the workplace hurts your productivity and takes a serious toll on your mind and body.

Stress is a costly problem in the workplace
Working and juggling the demands of career and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. Finding a healthy work-life balance isn’t a one-shot deal and is a continuous process. It’s extremely important to manage our stress level to keep our mental health in check. Periodically take a look at your priorities and, if necessary, make changes to ensure you’re keeping on track.

Are you stressed?  Take a stress test

Even making small changes in your daily life can greatly help manage every day stress and will help you find that healthy balance between home, work, and social activities which are essential for getting a handle on stress and feeling good about life. Learn how to manage stress better and live life well with these tips:

  1. Connect with others
  2. Stay positive
  3. Get physically active
  4. Help others
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Create joy and satisfaction
  7. Eat well
  8. Take care of your spirit
  9. Deal better with hard times
  10. Get professional help if you need it
  11. Take the stress out of your commute

If your life feels too chaotic to manage and you’re spinning your wheels worrying about it, it’s time to seek help.  Who should you contact for help?Employee Assistance Program

Spring (and SmartHealth) Is In the Air!

There’s nothing like late spring in Washington

Flowers

The weather is perfect, the mountains are calling, the water is sparkling. It’s a great time to be outdoors, to enjoy locally grown foods, and be grateful that we live in such a beautiful, wondrous place. And SmartHealth has four new challenges to help you do just that—all while making your well-being a priority AND working towards shaving $125 off your annual medical deductible.  When you reach 2,000 total points by June 30, 2015 you’ll qualify.

screenshot-smarthealth

Those points really do add up fast!

Here’s how easy it is…

  • Hold a Walking Meeting: Just say no to the conference room! Take a stroll to talk shop and enjoy the beautiful weather at the same time. (200 points)
  • Indoor No More: Get out in the sunshine to enjoy an hour of outdoor exercise at least once a week. (up to 500 points)
  • Plant a Garden: There’s nothing like fresh fruits and vegetables you grow yourself. Unleash you inner farmer and you’ll soon enjoy the bounty! (300 points)
  • Mindful Mondays: Every Monday, take at least two five-minute breaks to stop, look, listen, and reflect. (up to 500 points).

Visit www.smarthealth.hca.wa.gov and join a warm weather challenge now!

Mental Health Awareness & Workplace Safety

Mental Health Stats

Changing the Way We Think About Mental Health

In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and brought the issue of mental health to the forefront.  Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition and work continues in fighting stigmas and providing support and advocacy for those with mental health issues.

Protect your health.  Preserve your mental health.  Prevent bad and sometimes tragic outcomes from ever happening.

The focus of Workplace Safety & Awareness for the month of May will be why Mental Health Awareness Matters at Work.  Employees should be the most valued asset for employers and Mental Health disorders can have a significant cost in the workplace, a loss in productivity and absenteeism.  We spend a lot of time at work and given all the time we spend at work we ought to have a healthy physically and mentally work environment.

Over Spring break the Enumclaw Campus staff and faculty were fortunate to participate in an 8 hour Mental Health First Aid training class that was provided by the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation as part of a large grant they received to address mental health issues on the plateau.  Check out other opportunities for Mental Health First Aid training! 

Get your facts about Mental Health.
Mental health is one of our greatest assets. It supports focus at work, overcoming obstacles, relationships with the people around you and overall well-being.  We all encounter mental health every day. Whether you are dealing with stress, a divorce, or a natural disaster, it’s important to learn what’s affecting your health.

Read up on common mental health topics.

MentalHealthAwareness1

Screening is an anonymous, free & private way to learn about your mental health.

SmartHealth Challenge Accepted!

Challenge

A personal challenge issued by the Governor!

It all started with this postcard in the mail. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly a health nut. I like value meals. I like refilling my soda before leaving Costco. I like sour cream on my tacos. I also…have yet to explore all walking trails across campus. That being said, I do like anything that clearly states I can earn $125! Sign me up! Governor (as in the WA State Governor’s SmartHealth Challenge), you’re on!

Snacks

None of these snacks are officially endorsed by SmartHealth, but all can be found in my desk.

With visions of a $125 incentive applied towards my health coverage deductible for 2016, I logged into the SmartHealth website for the very first time. Registration was no problem at all. Choosing a username however…that was challenging because you want to pick something that sounds cool…but not dated (something like steve2015 would only work for another 9 months after all). “EstebanIsSteve” can now officially be found on the SmartHealth site.

The actual task at hand, completing the Well-being Assessment, took about fifteen minutes. I was a little curious why I was being asked about my career, quality of life, optimism, and blood sugar level (Does anyone really know their blood sugar level?). Whoop! Completing the assessment just earned me 800 points towards that $125 deductible!

Results

79%! That’s it! Perhaps I should have studied before taking the test.

My momentary excitement however shifted towards another feeling. I may have just earned 800 points, but my assessment revealed an overall wellness score of only 79%. That would eat away at any overachiever, right? Am I really just average? Gulp. As it turns out I excelled in “Life Meaning”, “Knowing Yourself”, and “Capacity for Change”, but received lower marks in “Physical”, “Sleep”, and “Nutrition.” Okay…I guess that actually makes sense. I’ve perhaps known this all along. The difference though, is that I had an official result in front of me…in black and white…from the Governor…stating I am below average in several areas of well-being. Let’s just say that being confronted with the truth hurts a tiny bit. Thank you Governor.

Topics

That 7 hours I just slept? That banana I had for breakfast? Yup. Those count towards actual points.

No seriously, thank you Governor. Everyone needs a truth sandwich every now and then. I know I don’t work out enough. I know there are beautiful trails on campus I should be exploring. I know I should not be supersizing my value meal. The good news is that this site also has lots of support, resources, and “Topics” to improve one’s well-being. Every topic you add to your program adds to your overall goal of reaching that $125 deductible. I’ve already added a few topics (Sleep Well, Healthy Start, and Track Your Activity) and am on track to a better me.

Analytics

I just a few clicks I automagically connected my exercise app of choice to SmartHealth.

On a serious note, this process also made me aware of the fact that I really don’t know basic information…about myself. I felt the click of shame every time I had to choose, “I don’t know”,  as an answer. Blood glucose? Cholesterol? Blood pressure? Weight? I don’t know. Am I supposed to know this information? Now, I’m actually thinking of scheduling a doctor’s visit…you know, those things you normally do only when you feel like you’re dying? It’s like I’m actually thinking about my health in a proactive way instead of responding to a situation as it occurs. There is hope for me yet…and an incentive for $125!

P.S. If anyone out there received a score of over 79% please don’t share with me. I already feel self-conscious enough for one week.