Although asthma has long been recognized as a physical health issue, it’s important to realize that asthma not only affects the lungs but also emotional wellness and behavioral health. The tie between asthma and behavioral health issues such as anxiety and depression plays a role in overall health and wellness.
As described by Psychreg in its “Psychology of Asthma” article: “Imagine suddenly not being able to breathe. Your anxiety level jumps through the roof. Adrenaline kicks in. That depletes your oxygen level even more. That makes it harder to breathe, which further heightens your anxiety level. That is the escalating reality of an asthma attack.”
And then the cycle is in motion as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) shares that strong emotions, stress, anxiety and depression can trigger asthma. AAFA also states that by properly managing stress, individuals can reduce their risk of having a stress-induced asthma attack or episode.
Asthma.net adds more support to the link between asthma and behavioral health issues. In its “2019 In America Survey: My Inner Life with Asthma,” Asthma.net brings the emotional and mental aspects of asthma to the surface. The survey was conducted online in April and May 2019 and completed by 1,018 individuals living with asthma.
PURDUE ASTHMA RESOURCES
In line with the Healthy Boiler Program’s approach to improve overall health and wellness, a variety of resources are available to help individuals who live with asthma handle the physical health challenges, and those resources in turn help them navigate the behavioral health aspects of the disease as well. They include:
As the provider of behavioral health services to Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, SupportLinc caters to a wide variety of behavioral health concerns and needs, one of which is asthma. Resources available on the SupportLinc web portal include:
Asthma Care for Adults
Beginning Aug. 2, a five-week, virtual Healthy Boiler wellness program called “Asthma Care for Adults” will be offered via the Center for Healthy Living (CHL), supporting the physical health and behavioral health pillars of the Healthy Boiler Program. Attendees will meet from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for the first two weeks and then noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays for the final three weeks for a total of seven lessons. All Healthy Boiler workshops and wellness programs are free to benefits-eligible employees and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan.
The “Asthma Care for Adults” program was developed by AAFA to help adults and their caregivers learn how to manage asthma. According to AAFA, approximately 25 million Americans have asthma, which is equal to about one in 13 Americans.
The program runs from Aug. 2 through Sept. 1. Those interested should register by July 26 via the Healthy Boiler Portal. The registration link can be found under the “Healthy Boiler Workshops” section on the portal’s homepage. Hover over the “Asthma Care for Adults” square and hit “Submit” to register.
Questions about the “Asthma Care for Adults” program can be directed to the CHL at 765-494-0111.
ConditionCare is a no-cost health and wellness program provided by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Purdue’s medical plan administrator. ConditionCare is available to all those covered on a Purdue health care plan and provides help and resources to those living with ongoing health conditions, such as asthma. The program provides:
- 24/7, toll-free phone access to nurses, who can answer health questions.
- Support from health care professionals to help people reach their health goals.
- Educational guides, electronic newsletters and tools to help individuals learn more about their condition.
Those interested in using the ConditionCare program should call Anthem toll free at 866-962-0963 to get started. Calls with Anthem are always confidential; the Anthem rep will ask for the individual’s name and date of birth to ensure identity.
ADDITIONAL MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
To assist faculty and staff
Review the Mental Health Resources webpage for a variety of available resources for faculty and staff, including resources for all Purdue campuses, information on Purdue’s health plan coverage for mental health and substance abuse and behavioral health referral locations for the West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Northwest campuses.
To assist students
Faculty and staff who work with students or have a student at home can direct them to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: LiveHealth Online Psychology and LiveHealth Online Psychiatry services are also available to Purdue students who are covered on a Purdue health plan. Mental health visits through LiveHealth Online are covered at 100% on the Purdue student health plan.
Office of the Dean of Students
Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
Questions can be directed to Human Resources at 765-494-2222, toll-free at 877-725-0222 or via email at [email protected] or HRHelp (secure email).