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Support available to those stressed by world events

Emory Report | July 19, 2016

Those in the Emory community struggling with the stress of recent national and international events related to violence, terrorism and social unrest can find resources to help on campus.

The swell of unsettling events — from the recent loss of two Emory students in terror attacks in Bangladesh to reports of violence in countries around the globe, including the United States — can have a cumulative impact on emotional health, says Paula Gomes, executive director of Emory’s Faculty Staff Assistance Program.

After each event, Gomes says the FSAP has received a significant increase in calls from both individuals and divisions in the Emory community seeking support. “Often, we need permission to allow ourselves to feel the gamut of emotions that can come with these kinds of events, not only sadness and anger, but also frustration and fear,” she says.

“It’s a unique time with a great deal of complexity and stress,” she says. “We want to remind people who may find themselves dealing with a mixture of emotions that this is a very natural response. But if they find they are stuck, having a hard time moving forward, we are here to help.”

In response to events at home and abroad, the FSAP has created a resource page within its website dedicated to offering emotional support following tragic events. Resources include individual counseling appointments and group or departmental debriefing sessions, says Gomes.

Gomes also endorses self-care strategies, which can include taking time away from social media and television news coverage and increasing healthy activities, such as taking a walk, exercise, or talking with friends. Parents may also apply the same strategies with their children, she adds.

Through FSAP, licensed professionals are available to discuss a variety of personal concerns, including stress management, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, and personal and work relationships. Services are free and confidential, available to both employees and their immediate family members.

Emory’s FSAP also offers programs and services aimed at helping employees create an overall healthier life, both at work and at home, including:

  • Coaching and consultation services for personal needs and work-related concerns.
  • Confidential assessment, short-term counseling, and referral services to discuss concerns and resolve problems.
  • Support groups to address issues of common concern, such as grief, loss, anger and conflict.
  • Workshops, webinars and and events targeting a variety of educational topics to promote good health.
  • Critical incident debriefing for work teams and departments following a traumatic incident, including responding to grief and loss.

For more information, or to reach someone to talk about emotional support about tragic events, call 404-727-WELL or send an email to: efsap@emory.edu.