The relationship between asthma, depression, anxiety affects many; resources available to help

Although asthma has long been recognized as a physical health problem, it is important to realize that asthma affects not only the lungs, but emotional health and behavioral health as well. The relationship 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 article “The Psychology of Asthma”: “Imagine suddenly not being able to breathe. Your anxiety level goes through the roof. Adrenaline kicks in. This depletes your oxygen level even more. This makes breathing difficult, which further increases the level of anxiety. This is the escalating reality of an asthma attack.

And then the cycle is set in motion, as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) shares that strong emotions, stress, anxiety and depression can trigger asthma. The AAFA also states that by properly managing stress, people can reduce their risk of a stress-induced asthma attack or episode.

Asthma.net adds more support to the link between asthma and behavioral health problems. In its 2019 Survey of America: My Inside Life with Asthma, Asthma.net brings to light the emotional and mental aspects of asthma. The survey was conducted online in April and May 2019 and was completed by 1,018 people living with asthma.

PURDUE ASTHMA RESOURCES

In keeping with the Healthy Boiler program’s approach to improving overall health and wellness, a variety of resources are available to help people living with asthma manage their physical health challenges, and these resources in turn help them to navigate the behavioral health aspects of the disease as well. They include:

SupportLinc

As the provider of behavioral health services at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, SupportLinc cares for a wide variety of behavioral health issues and needs, one of which is asthma. Resources available on the SupportLinc web portal include:

Asthma care for adults

Beginning August 2, a five-week Healthy Boiler virtual wellness program called “Asthma Care for Adults” will be offered through the Center for Healthy Living (CHL), supporting the physical health and behavioral health pillars of the Healthy Boiler program. Participants will meet from noon to 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the first two weeks and then from noon to 1pm on Thursdays for the last three weeks for a total of seven lessons. All Healthy Boiler seminars and wellness programs are free to eligible employees and dependents covered by 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 the AAFA, approximately 25 million Americans have asthma, which equates to about one in 13 Americans.

The program runs from August 2 to September 1. Those interested must register by July 26 through the Healthy Boiler portal. The registration link can be found in the Healthy Boiler Workshops section of the portal home page. Hover over the ‘Asthma Care for Adults’ box and press ‘Submit’ to register.

Questions about the Asthma Care for Adults program can be directed to CHL at 765-494-0111.

Anthem ConditionCare

ConditionCare is a free health and wellness program provided by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, administrator of the Purdue Medical Plan. ConditionCare is available to everyone covered by a Purdue health plan and provides help and resources to those living with ongoing health problems, such as asthma. The program provides:

  • 24/7, toll-free phone access to nurses who can answer health questions.
  • Support from health professionals to help people achieve their health goals.
  • Educational guides, e-newsletters and tools to help people 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 representative will ask for the person’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 resources available for faculty and staff, including resources for all Purdue campuses, Purdue Health Plan coverage information for mental health and substance abuse, and behavioral health referral locations for West Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Northwest campuses.

To help students

Faculty and staff who work with students or have a student at home can refer them to the resources below for behavioral health help. Note: LiveHealth Online Psychology and LiveHealth Online Psychiatry services are also available to Purdue students who are covered by a Purdue Health Plan. Mental health visits through LiveHealth Online are covered 100% by the Purdue Student Health Plan.

Office of the Dean of Students

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Questions

Questions may be directed to Human Resources at 765-494-2222, toll-free at 877-725-0222, or by email at [email protected] or HRHelp (email protected).

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