Mental Health & Your Benefits

Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Mental health encompasses our emotional, behavioral and psychological well-being—how we feel, act and think. It determines how we handle stress, make choices and contribute to our family and community.

The stigma of mental health conditions, also called mental illness, has reduced but is still prevalent. False beliefs about mental health can cause challenges, preventing some people from seeking help. Most people who live with mental illness have, at some point, been blamed—or blame themselves—for their condition. Mental health conditions are no one's fault. And, people can usually be successfully treated.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

There are many stressors that can affect mental and emotional well-being, and manifest to conditions that can affect thinking, mood and behavior. Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors may be reason to seek professional support:

  • Having low or no energy, or unexplained aches and pains
  • Smoking, drinking, using drugs or eating more than usual
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Experiencing severe mood swings
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Your health is as much about your mental and emotional well-being as it is about your heart and your bones. Social connections, laughter, pets, spirituality and managing your work/life can boost mental health and general wellness.

Your benefits include counseling and substance abuse recovery services, and can help you effectively deal with a range of situations, such as:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Coping with grief and loss
  • Domestic violence
  • Eating disorders
  • Relationship problems  

If you have concerns about your mental health or the mental health of your loved one, it may be helpful to talk to someone, such as your physician. It can be scary to reach out, but it’s often the first step to healing and recovery.

A wealth of free services and resources are available through the University to support you. Mental and behavioral health services are also covered by your medical plan.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Access counseling, life coaching and more through our EAP (via Humana), a free, confidential service available to employees and their household members.

  • Free, confidential 24/7 short-term counseling (by phone)through Columbia’s Employee Assistance Program: 888-673-1153.
  • LifeCoach, a free, personalized coaching experience available to you by phone. To get started, call 855-290-2655.
  • Apps available at discounted rates through the EAP (and also from the App Store or Google Play):
    • Talkspace: Confidential and secure mental health support. Users can send text, video and audio messages to dedicated therapists from anywhere, at any time.
    • Stop, Breathe & Think: Meditation and mindfulness programming to tackle life’s ups and downs.
    • Five-Minute Journal: Simple, directed journaling exercises to help users focus on the good in their lives.

Office of Work/Life

The Office of Work/Life can help you manage your work and family life through the following services and programs:

Go to worklife.columbia.edu to learn more.

University policies to support your overall well-being

Other resources

  • Mental Health America: Dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives.
  • MentalHealth.gov: Learn about the causes, symptoms and how to cope with mental health, and how to get you or your loved one help.

A wealth of free services and resources are available through the University to support you. Mental and behavioral health services are also covered by your medical plan.

To find an in-network provider nearby, go to columbia.welcometouhc.com/find-a-doctor. This page includes the list of Columbia Doctors who provide in-network services to University employees.

ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, Department of Psychiatry

Beginning June 1, employees may utilize the Columbia Day Programas an in-network benefit. This intensive group-therapy program—designed for people suffering from a variety of conditions, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse—can assist with identifying symptoms and patterns of behavior, and decrease those symptoms using cognitive and behavioral skills.

Contact ColumbiaDoctors at 212-326-8441 for more information.

UHC Live and Work Well

This site provides confidential help and resources when coping with personal challenges--such as divorce, obesity and health issues, and how to cope with anxiety, stress and depression. You can also access online resources to help reach your health goals, such as eating right or reducing stress and even get guidance from a coach via phone, secure email or live chat. Log in to myuhc.com and click “Coverage & Benefits.” Then, select “Mental Health” and “Mental Health and Substance Abuse benefit highlights” to learn more.