The Balance program provides resources and information on a variety of emotional health topics including:
• 2014 Milliman, Inc. report Economic Impact of Integrated Medical-Behavioral Healthcare: Implications for Psychology
• Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Matthew E. Peters, M.D., is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neurology. He completed a neuropsychiatry fellowship and has an active clinical practice and research group focused on cognitive and other psychiatry symptoms following brain injury. He has a particular interest in symptom occurrence in older adults and the underlying brain circuitry involved.
Dr. Paul Kim is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He serves as attending physician on the Young Adult Inpatient Unit and Mood Consultation Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also conducts basic science research studying the role of neuroinflammation and neurodevelopment in neurological and psychiatric disorders. He is a managing editor of and contributor to the Johns Hopkins POC-IT Psychiatry Guide.
The Johns Hopkins Balance program provides employees experiencing an emotional health condition with a comprehensive approach to care through early identification and comprehensive care coordination.
HOW IT WORKS
ASSESS: Employees take a confidential emotional health questionnaire online. Their results are available immediately and help determine where they are on their path to emotional health.
IDENTIFY: Based on the questionnaire results, a Balance Care Concierge may contact the employee to confidentially discuss the results and what support they may need and want. Together, they create an action plan to help the employee get in good emotional health.
REFER/TRIAGE: The Care Concierge also connects the employee to the resources that will help them get in good emotional shape.
CHECK/FOLLOW UP/RE-EVALUATE: The Care Concierge follows up with the employee to make sure they are getting the right care, at the right time, from the best resources for them.
*Balance is a Johns Hopkins Medicine worksite program in collaboration with emVitals and BHS. This service is confidential and follows all federal and state privacy laws. When speaking to a Care Concierge, the conversations and information collected is not shared with the employer.
Clicks on the topics below to learn more about these topics.
Everyone experiences stress in daily life. And, the very real effects of stress impact our overall health and wellness in a number of ways that can affect every system of our bodies—from the heart and cardiovascular system to the digestive system. Stress can negatively affect sleep, our moods, and even interfere with relationships and our jobs.
Symptoms of stress include a wide range of physical issues, everything from headaches, heartburn and insomnia to increased colds and infections. And while it’s important to remember that everyone experiences stress as part of life, it’s also important to know that help in dealing with stress is available.
While we can’t always avoid stress in our lives, we can learn to bring those stresses under control. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
Everyone has their ups and downs in life. That’s only natural. But clinical depression is different from the occasional bout of feeling down. If you are clinically depressed, your sadness will be profound for weeks at a time, almost without relief.
Here are a few questions that can help you tell if this is truly depression:
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, or if you answered yes to the last two, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible about how you are feeling.
Depression can be treated with medication and psychological counseling. Even some lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, can help. And while it’s important to know that depression can be a serious disease, it’s also good to know that help is available.
If your sleep is disturbed more than three times a week, and the trouble has gone on for at least a month, discuss it with your doctor; he or she might recommend a sleep specialist. If, however, your sleep problems are not too severe, or are the result of poor sleep habits, read on.
1. Make your bedroom a haven.
Is your mattress as soft or as firm as you like? Are your bedclothes comfortable? Temperature and humidity OK? Is the room quiet and dark enough for you? (Wear earplugs or a mask if need be.)
2. Come up with a bedtime routine.
Go to bed at about the same time every night, and follow the same routine so your body will know you’re ready to bed down. Dim the lights, drink a cup of herbal tea—or take a bath, read or listen to music to smooth the way from wakefulness to sleepiness.
3. Get up at around the same time each morning, weekends too.
Such constancy will reinforce your biological clock’s sleep-wake cycle. Use your bed for sleeping. Move the TV (computer, tablet or smartphone) out of the bedroom; also don’t read, talk on the phone, or snack in bed.
4. Don’t lie in bed and stare at the ceiling.
If you can’t fall asleep after a while, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, get up and read, listen to music or do some deep breathing to encourage sleep. (But do not exercise!)
5. Eliminate daytime naps.
Some people get quite drowsy in the afternoons and doze off for a while. But if they do take a nap, they may have trouble sleeping that night—and so the following day, they’ll have to take another nap to make up for the previous night’s lost sleep.
6. Exercise regularly.
Exercising in the daytime can help you feel tired and relaxed in the evening. If you’re not already exercising, ask your doctor to help you devise a workout. Avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime, since vigorous activity at that time can drive away sleep.
7. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
All three of these drugs can cause poor-quality sleep, particularly if consumed late in the day. Smokers often experience troublesome withdrawal symptoms while trying to sleep; caffeine stays in the body for many hours before it can be eliminated; and alcohol is actually a stimulant that can also disrupt sleep.
8. If your partner snores loudly or thrashes around while asleep . . .
either move to a different room or ask him or her to see a doctor. Snoring can often be due to some treatable medical condition like a sinus blockage, thyroid imbalance, sleep apnea or obesity. Jerking and thrashing may be due to restless leg syndrome.
9. Use sleeping pills only as a last—and temporary—resort.
In certain circumstances, hypnotic medications may be useful for sleeplessness but they’re not a replacement for good sleep habits. If your insomnia has gotten to the point where sleeping pills are sounding like a good solution, talk with your doctor.
This technique can result in both better emotional and physical health.
At least while you’re still learning, try to practice this form of relaxation during an already quiet time when you’re least stressed.
To learn more about relaxation and meditation, visit the National Institutes of Health website: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm.
Center for Workplace Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Council for Behavioral Health
Veterans & Families – Mental Health Resources
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)