Mental Health Resources for Individuals and Families

With Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Duke offers resources for help

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Helpful Webinars

Bright Horizons, which has partnered with Duke, offers free, monthly webinars on child development, parenting and family issues.

Help for You

Staff and faculty at Duke University and Duke University Health System can get help for mental health challenges through the Personal Assistance Service (PAS), which uses a team of licensed professionals to offer assessments, short-term counseling and referrals for longer-term options.

In-person and virtual counseling sessions can be set up by calling 919-416-1727 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The service offers up top eight-no-cost counseling sessions for a wide range of behavior, work and family challenges whether employees are in North Carolina or out of state. Staff and faculty outside of North Carolina can access short-term counseling services and referrals similar to those offered through PAS from Business Health Services (BHS), an outside provider. To connect with BHS, call 1-800-327-2251.

“We’re often a place where people can start to get help,” said Nichole Capitanio, director of Duke’s Personal Assistance Service. “ We cover a lot. You could be dealing with personal distress, relationship challenges, feeling anxious about aged parents.”

For needs that go beyond the short-term help provided by PAS, individuals covered by Duke’s employee medical benefits can get help for behavioral health or substance abuse concerns through their medical plan.

Help for Adult Loved Ones

Duke’s mental health resources aren’t limited to only employees.

Any benefits-eligible adult family member of a staff or faculty member can also speak with a PAS counselor. The service is available regardless of whether or not they’re covered by a Duke employee health plan.

“The mental health of the people in your household affects you,” said Savage of PAS. “Services such as PAS are set up to help employees because mental health affects how well you are able to do your job. Places of employment want healthy workers to be able to do good quality work. And so if you’re struggling, or if someone in your house is struggling, it’s going to affect your work. We’re not machines, we’re not robots. We can’t shut off what’s going on in our personal life when we show up for work.”

Help for Children and Families

PAS counselors are not able to provide consultations for those under the age of 18, but there are Duke resources available to help children and families.

Dr. Nicole Heilbron, a clinical psychologist and vice chair for clinical services in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and co-director of the Duke Division of Child and Family Mental Health and Community Psychiatry recommends consulting your child’s pediatrician for potential treatment options or reaching out to the Duke Children’s Evaluation Center. PAS can also offer referrals for child mental health treatment options both at Duke and in the community.

“We are committed to helping families connect with the care they need,” Heilbron said.

Heilbron said referrals to the Duke Children’s Evaluation Center in fiscal year 2021-22 were more than double the total number in 2018-19 before the pandemic.

“There has definitely been a significant change over the past several years,” Heilbron said. “Many children and families have been facing a lot of stress, so we’ve seen a spike in the number of people in need.”

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