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Aggiesthrive: A mental health initiative for USU employees


Aggies Thrive

Aggies Thrive is an initiative designed to provide a more comprehensive mental health support system for university employees and their loved ones. We aim to nourish a culture passionate about supporting those around us, in not only life’s accomplishments, but also daily struggles. 

Mental health is a fundamental piece of overall health, but social and cultural stigmas surrounding this subject can build barriers which make it difficult to pursue important mental health practices. Our faculty and staff spend their days supporting our students, so it is our privilege to provide a comprehensive mental health support system for University employees and their loved ones. 

Come on Aggies, let's take mental health by the horns!

Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Social, biological, and environmental factos all affect mental health. Mental health is an integral part of overall health. An environment that respects and protects basic civil, political, socio-economic, and culturak rights is fundamental to mental health. Without the security and freedom provided by these rights, it is difficult to maintain a high level of mental health.


If you have a broken arm, you get it fixed, so there is no long-term harm to your body. Mental health should be no different. Negative stigmas surrounding mental health can make it hard for people, creating one more barrier to seeking the help they need. We have compiled some important resources to help start conversations about mental health here.




Supervisors are responsible for making sure their teams have everything they need to succeed, and that includes being aware of mental health needs. During these unprecedented times, watching out for mental health red flags is even more important. 

The following are signs to look for when interacting with employees:

  • General appearance: Does the employee appear to look less healthy and/or more unkempt than prior to the pandemic?
  • Mood swings/erratic behavior: Has there been a shift to a different personality?
  • Irritability: Is the employee becoming easily frustrated or angered?
  • Interaction with co-workers: Has there been a change in how the employee acts around other workers, for example, isolating and avoiding interactions with others?
  • Sudden requests for time off or frequently taking sick days: Is there an uptick in illnesses or unexpected time off?
  • Changes in eating and sleeping behaviors: Is the employee eating much less or much more than usual? Do they look tired?
  • Lack of focus: Does the employee sometimes appear confused or out of sorts?
  • Anxiety: Is the employee expressing greater than usual fear, worry, and anxiety?
  • Productivity decline: Does the employee seem to be less productive than before?
  • Suspicious of substance use/misuse: Is the employee showing signs of alcohol/drug abuse?
  • 8 ways managers can support mental health
  • How to help a depressed employee
  • How to respond when a direct report has anxiety,depression, or other mental health issues
  • Train your new employees with less stress

Keep tabs on your employees virtually if they are working from home

*Warning: Some of what you may watch may be triggering as they may describe a suicide attempt

I know firsthand the impact of mental illness and am personally vested in this initiative and in helping to address these issues. While seeking my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to work as a Psychiatric Technician. I saw the challenges of mental illness and the stigma associated with it. I have had two dear friends die by suicide due to mental health issues. I have experienced the challenges that come with having a child diagnosed with anxiety and learning how to help her during moments of crisis. And I have assumed legal guardianship for two of my nephews, who have schizophrenia, after my sister (their mom) died several years ago. -Douglas Bullock

Employee Assistance Program

Aetna EAP: Resources For Living

Aetna Resources For Living is an employer sponsored program, available at no cost to you and all members of your household. That includes dependent children up to age 26, whether or not they live at home. Services are confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can access up to 6 counseling sessions per issue each year. You can also call 24 hours a day for in-the-moment emotional well-being support. Counseling sessions are available face to face or online with televideo. Services are free and confidential.  

Program Features

  • Up to 6 face-to-face sessions per issue per year
  • Legal (30-minute consultation per issue/60-minute ID Theft Consultation for victims of ID theft)
  • Financial (30-minute telephonic consultation per issue)
  • Daily life assistance provides personalized guidance and referrals for child care, parenting, elder care, caregiver support, special needs, home repair and improvement, school and financial aid research, etc.
  • Online resources include articles, videos, myStrength, legal/financial tools, webinars, discount center, etc.

Aetna: Monthly Newsletters


Aggies Thrive Events

Sample Page

Lunch & Learn Events

Join us for free lunch and learn presentations regarding me ntal wellness from well-respected speakers in the field.

Watch Past Presentations Here

Upcoming Aggies Thrive Events

Event Description Date & Time Location
Webinar (Aetna Resources for Living) What's your EI? Becoming aware of your emotional intelligence January 27 | 1:00 pm Virtual: Webex Registration Link
Webinar (Aetna Resources for Living) Strengthening your relationships in today's tough times February 3 | 1:00 pm Virtual: Webex Registration Link
Webinar (Aetna Resources for Living) Siblings: Rivalries, relationships and more February 10 | 1:00 pm Virtual: Webex Registration Link
Webinar (Aetna Resources for Living) Finding comfort beyond the comfort zone February 17 | 1:00 pm Virtual: Webex Registration Link
Webinar (Aetna Resources for Living) Healthy Boundaries in Online Relationships February 24 | 1:00 pm Virtual: Webex Registration Link
Webinar (URS)

Solving the Puzzle of Taxes in Retirement

In retirement, the name of the game is taxation. In this webinar you’ll learn strategies and tips to keep your retiree taxes low, along with an overview of how your retirement income is reported by you and URS.

February 25 | 10:00 am Virtual: Registration Link
Webinar (URS)

Should I Pay Off Debt or Save?

Many of us want to save for emergencies, retirement, or just a fun vacation. But, should you pay off your debts before saving? This webinar will discuss strategies to answer this question.

March 29 | 10:00 am Virtual: Registration Link
The Family Place Event Better Together Program

This is a 12-week program for parents/caregivers and children (0-18 years). Spots are limited and you must register beforehand. Contact the Family Place at 435-752-8880 if you have questions.

Better Together Program Flyer
12 week program, call 435-752-8880 for more information call 435-752-8880
Mental Health First Aid Training Learn how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional distress. January 27 & 28  Virtual: ILS registration link

USU Resources

Meetup app image

Meetup: Find Your Community

Meetup: Find Your Community

Being part of a community can have a positive effect on mental health and emotional wellbeing.  Forming connections and relationships with people who have similar interests and hobbies can offer a sense of belonging all of us need to thrive. As part of the Aggies Thrive mental health initiative for faculty and staff, we’d like to introduce you to Meetup, a place that can help you find those important connections in your community. Join the Aggies Thrive group in Meetup today!


To join the Meetup, follow these easy steps:

  1. Download the Meetup app to your smartphone (Available on Android and iOS devices) OR go to from your computer. 
  2. Follow the steps to join the Meetup community. It takes only a few minutes to request to join, but you may have to wait a day for Meetup to approve the request.
  3. Once approved by Meetup, type “Aggies Thrive” in the search field and you will see a list of the currently scheduled events created and hosted by your Aggie community. 
  4. RSVP for the event and you are set to start building new friendships!


Not seeing an event that piques your interest? We bet there are others who feel the same. Why not create an event so all the Old Horror Movie Fans in our community (we know you’re out there) can unite?! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Email and let us know the following information about your event:
    • What would you like to call this Meetup event?
    • Date and time of the event(s)
    • Duration of the event(s)
    • Description: Let your attendees know what to expect, including the agenda, what they need to bring, and how to find the group. 
    • Location: Is this an online event? You can do a lot online these days, including taking in an old horror flick. Or is there a venue where people will meet?
    • Is this a recurring event? 
    • Is an attendee limit necessary?
    • Are guests of those who RSVP allowed?
    • Would you like the RSVP window to close early? Options are: One (1) day before event or the day of event.
  2. A Be Well staff member will set up the event under the Aggies Thrive group within Meetup and grant you access as the Host/Event Organizer. As the Host/Event Organizer you will get notified as people register for the event and you can email the participants when you need to reach out. Once a Be Well staff member sets up your first event, they are able to grant access as an Event Organizer so that you can set up your own events in the future and manage all aspects of those events.
  3. Take pride in knowing you are building opportunities for people to come together and have fun! Even Old Horror Movie fans. 

The Aggies Thrive group within Meetup was established to provide USU employees with a platform where they can build social connections. It is not the intention of USU to oversee the Meetup events that are created and therefore the expectation is that once events are produced, they are overseen by the Event Organizer/Host from start to finish. It should be the understanding of those who join and host events that they need to follow the guidelines of Meetup while participating. USU also reserves the right to cancel events that are not aligned with the intent of the Aggies Thrive program.


Be Well

USU Be Well Rewards is an engaging incentive program that rewards employees of Utah State University for taking an active role in their personal wellbeing. Through the USU Be Well Rewards program all benefit-eligible employees can earn up to $280 each year.

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield

USU offers a robust medical plan to its benefited employees and their eligible dependents. This medical plan provides support to mental health services, including up to 40 office visits a year with a mental health professional (an employee’s out-of-pocket expense will vary based on the plan that the employee is enrolled in).

Find a list of in-network providers here. 

(When looking for a provider and not logging in, look at either the Preferred ValueCare or Participating under: Utah Preferred, Bluepoint, Innova, Engage, Evolve, RealValue, HSA (2.0, 3.0))

There are also options for telehealth appointments with a mental health professional. Learn more about telehealth services here.


PEHP Mental Health Benefits

If you are an employee of the USU Eastern campus or Blanding Statewide campus than you have mental health coverage within your PEHP insurance. 

PEHP Mental Health Webinars



Utah Crisis Line

Utah Crisis Line


24/7 free and confidential crisis help and support in association with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The Utah Crisis Line provides compassionate support. They give referrals to anyone in need of mental health or emotional wellbeing services. Whatever age you are, you can call for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no cost. They have interpreters in more than 150 languages who can help. 

SafeUT Icon

SafeUT App

SafeUT answers crisis calls, and chats—about yourself or someone else—24/7. These free services, provided by University of Utah Health, are confidential. Counseling topics include:

  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues;
  • Suicide prevention;
  • Loss and grief;
  • Bullying and cyberbullying;
  • Drug and alcohol problems;
  • Self-harm;
  • Relationship difficulties;
  • Any life challenge.

SafeUT is free and confidential.

If an “active rescue” is necessary – meaning our crisis counselor believes the user is in immediate danger – the counselor will alert emergency services to attempt a face-to-face safety evaluation based on the information provided by the user.

Child with a paper heart

On-Campus Resources

Local Resources

Aggies Thrive has compiled a catalog of available resources for each USU Statewide Campus surrounding area. This is not an exhaustive list. If you would like to recommend an additional resource to be included, please reach out to

Find Resources Near You


Many of the resources listed above may be available to students. Please give HR a call if you are interested.