PDA Q&A

An interview with Steve Lovett, Vice President of corporate and campus development, Health Management Systems of America, Detroit.




DB: Where are you?

SL: In Bonita Springs, Fla. I’m attending the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association conference. Basically, it’s an annual gathering of college and university administrators and counselors who oversee student counseling and violence prevention programs on campus.

DB: What programs are offered?

SL: Life can be very stressful, especially in college where you’re striving to post excellent grades, be active in your chosen profession as it relates to internships, work a part-time job, or undertake class projects. In my wing of the company, we provide 24/7 student counseling, online chat assistance, face-to-face counseling — whatever it takes to help students cope with the demands on their time. We’re on 170 different campuses, and we also contract with national fraternities.

DB: Are there similar programs for the private sector?

SL: Yes. We have a staff of 13,000 behavioral health counselors (who work with small to large companies) in more than 3,000 cities. Wellness goes hand-in-hand with productivity, and a lot of companies and organizations are starting to recognize that fact. One program we offer is online health coaching for someone looking to reduce weight, eat better, or exercise. In some cases, it’s all three goals. We work with people one-on-one to set up a custom plan.

DB: What’s the best way to deal with stress and anxiety?

SL: Seek assistance right away. Talk to a doctor, a counselor, a loved one, a family member, a priest, or a good friend. Just getting the issue out in the open helps relieve the stress. If you need professional help, most health care plans offer coverage. The worst thing you can do is keep things bottled up inside. That’s a recipe for disaster. db —R.J. King

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