Mental & Emotional Well-being

Essential to overall health, positive mental and emotional well-being allows individuals to realize their full potential, manage stresses of life, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. 

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National Prevention Strategy Recommendations

The National Prevention Strategy outlines the following mental and emotional well-being recommendations:

As an individual, maintain positive mental and emotional well-being by getting professional help if you need it, connecting with others, volunteering, staying physically active, eating nutritiously, drinking enough water, utilizing relaxation techniques, and getting enough sleep. 

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Office of Work/Life Resources

The Office of Work/Life develops and offers programs and initiatives designed to promote positive mental and emotional health, build social connectedness, and support you in learning and adopting relaxation and stress management techniques.

Cultivating Compassion Training (CCT)

Humans are wired for compassion but daily stressors and life experiences can affect our capacity to respond with kindness. This can be especially true for those in the healthcare profession as they are constantly caring for others. Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) aims to re-connect practitioners and other professionals in the field to the feelings and purpose of providing care and compassion for others.
The course consists of lectures and group discussion to support the inner capacity to care for ourselves and others, interactive exercises and informal practices to increase mindfulness and joy in everyday life, and a structured sequence of guided meditations aimed at cultivating a warm-hearted and robust responsiveness while protecting against burnout.

CCT was developed at Stanford University based on traditional contemplative practice as well as contemporary psychology and scientific research. The program has been shown to increase self-compassion and build resilience to stress, allowing for enhanced well-being.

Instructor: Bornali Basu, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and on faculty at the NYU Langone School of Medicine. She is dually certified to teach CCT through Stanford School of Medicine’s CCARE and the Compassion Institute.

*Please note, there is a minimum enrollment of 15 and maximum enrollment of 25 for this course.
Dates: Tuesdays, March 3--April 21
Time: 5:15-7:15 PM 
Dates: March 3-April 28 (*please note, there is no class on Tuesday, March 31)
Location: CUIMC Campus
Fee: $100
Instructor: Bornali Basu, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and on faculty at the NYU Langone School of Medicine. She is dually certified to teach CCT through Stanford School of Medicine’s CCARE and the Compassion Institute.


Mindfulness Training for Stress Reduction
Through this seven-week mindfulness training course, adapted to the university setting from the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, participants will observe how stress unfolds in their lives, their responses to it, and how mindfulness practice can ameliorate it. Participants will learn and practice a variety of stress reduction techniques, including mindful movement incorporating gentle yoga postures. Alongside the meditation practice, the classes incorporate group discussions centering on the experiences working with mindfulness meditation practices. This program is limited to Columbia faculty and staff.
Program is currently on hold.

Learn about the Yoga@Work initiative.

Learn about the Gym and Wellness discounts available to employees.

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Columbia University Resources

Besides our own programs and initiatives, you can also access these other Columbia programs and resources.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential service available to faculty, researchers, administrators, and staff who are eligible to receive medical benefits from Columbia. 

All services are provided by Humana at no cost to you or your family.  Humana's counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-673-1153. 

For more information and to access online resources, visit the Humana website (username: columbia; password: eap).

Access free, confidential 24-7 short-term counseling (by phone) through Columbia’s Employee Assistance Program at: 888-673-1153.

Life Coaching
LifeCoach, a free, telephonic, personalized coaching experience available to you and your household members. When you sign up for the experience, you are paired with a coach who mentors you and can help you identify and work towards achieving your goals. LifeCoach is available to you and your household members at no cost. To get started call the LifeCoach program at 855-290-2655.

Convenience Services
Whether you have a quick question or need a local resource, the Employee Assistance Program can discuss options, perform a custom search, and give you a list of referrals along with relevant articles, checklists, and other resources to help you meet your unique needs.

Columbia's health plan with United Health Care provides access to in-network mental/behavioral health providers.

Columbia Doctors psychiatrists and therapists provide compassionate, evidence-based mental health care tailored to individual goals. Services include:

  • Comprehensive evaluations
  • Medication management (psychopharmacology)
  • Individual therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Couples and family therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Exploratory or psychodynamic therapy

Columbia Doctors Nurse Practitioner Group  provides mental and behavioral services at the Medical Center campus (Washington Heights location: 526 West 168th Street). To make an appointment, call 212-326-5705.

United Health Care plans include access to virtual visits for mental/emotional health with AmWell and Doctors on Demand.

The International SOS (ISOS) program provides support services for Columbia faculty, staff, and students traveling abroad on University-related business.  This support includes access to up to five counseling sessions per trip.  Visit the website to register and learn more.

Columbia University’s Ombuds Office offers a confidential place to discuss workplace issues, academic concerns, issues relating to administrative paperwork and process, explanation and interpretation of policies and procedures, and many other issues or concerns. If you should need a place to discuss confidential workplace issues, contact Columbia’s Ombuds Office (Medical Center, 154 Haven Avenue, Room 412) at 212-304-7026.

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External Resources

Looking for more? Here are resources outside of Columbia.

    Learn more about mental health disorders, a range of mental health topics, and the latest mental health research from the National Institute of Mental Health. Contact NYC’s confidential and free mental health service line, NYC Well: 1-888-NYC-WELL, Press 2.

    Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education program that teaches people how to respond to individuals who are experiencing one or more acute mental health crises (such as suicidal thoughts or behavior, an acute stress reaction, panic attacks, or acute psychotic behavior) or are in the early stages of one or more chronic mental health problems (such as depressive, anxiety, or psychotic disorders, which may occur with substance abuse).

    Get inspired, access meditation audio, and receive free resources from Destress Monday.

    Find additional Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes in New York City through the Mindfulness Meditation New York Collaborative.

    Visit the UMass Medical School's Center for Mindfulness for a wealth of resources, including online classes.