In Crisis or Calm, Find the Counseling You Need

For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, learn how Duke’s Personal Assistance Service can help your well-being

Mental Health Month

Build awareness of mental health issues in May with this toolkit.

In the 2022-23 fiscal year, PAS provided 6,122 total counseling sessions, mostly for mental/emotional concerns and family, relationship, or child issues.

During that time, 74% of clients reported that they coped better after receiving help from PAS.

According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2023 report, 47% of adults said they wish they had someone to help them manage their stress.

The report also shows that 62% of adults said that they don’t talk about their stress because they don’t want to burden others.

Personal Assistance Service Director Nichole Capitanio.

Mental Health Awareness Month, which is observed in May, provides an opportunity to being your journey to better mental well-being.

For Duke staff, faculty and their family members, contacting PAS to talk about your stress and mental health concerns can be a worthwhile first step.

PAS provides virtual consultations and in-person sessions at Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, Duke Clinics and the PAS offices in Erwin Square.

Counselors can help in moments of crisis, and as PAS Director Nichole Capitanio pointed out, they can provide valuable guidance in calmer times, too.

Ben Adams, left, with his wife, Gabby and son Elliott, worked with PAS to find ways to process grief earlier this year.

Capitanio said speaking with a PAS counselor is beneficial when life seems under control, but help is needed to change a behavior or to improve a relationship or work situation.

“That can be the perfect time to come in and work on whatever issues you may feel are there,” Capitanio said. “Because these issues aren’t causing a crisis, you may have more emotional bandwidth to address them and manage a change. I always try to tell people, it’s OK to come in when you think things are going OK.”

Ben Adams, Senior Associate Dean of Students for QuadEx and Director of New Student and Family Programs for Duke Student Affairs, contacted PAS early this year to help him process the lingering grief after he and his wife, Gabby, experienced a miscarriage.

He didn’t feel that he was in the midst of a crisis, but he knew he needed someone to talk to, so he turned to counselors at PAS.

Emily Jackson, right, sought counsel from Duke's Personal Assistance Service as the health of her mother, Mary, declined. Mary, left, died in 2023.

“I think the grief, with the combination of more work responsibilities, got me to a place of needing somebody to bounce some ideas off of and be in conversation with,” Adams said. “I view them as thought partners, someone to have a conversation with. A lot of times they can reframe questions for me that I need to hear and just untangle some things. I used them to help me process the grief and think about some next steps and how to move forward.”

Jackson, the Senior Regulatory Coordinator in the Department of Pediatrics’ Children’s Clinical Research Unit, has a similar appreciation for the PAS benefit.

In addition to using the service in 2020, and after her mother died at 86 in 2023, Jackson consulted with PAS at other, less overwhelming times during her 24 years at Duke.

“PAS has always helped me maintain balance and find a good frame of mind,” Jackson said. “This is a great benefit that Duke allows us to have. If you feel like you need it, you should take advantage of this resource. It doesn’t cost you anything. It’s confidential, it’s helpful and you will feel better.”

North Carolina-based staff and faculty can schedule an in-person or virtual appointment by calling 919-416-1727. Employees who reside outside of North Carolina can access counseling by calling 800-327-2251.

Share Suggestions for Well-Being Programming

Please take a moment to complete this short survey from Duke Personal Assistance Service (PAS) to help them plan webinars and other resources with Duke's employee wellness program, LIVE FOR LIFE.

Hear more from colleagues about how Duke Personal Assistance can help you in this brief video.

How are you prioritizing well-being in May – or every day? Share your story and a photo of your mental health moment.

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