News

Behavioral Health Department Crosses Pond to Support UK Workers
March 11, 2021

St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Department is spanning the Atlantic Ocean virtually to provide psycho-educational, emotional and mental health support to employees of a global company that has branches in Bethlehem and the United Kingdom.

Amie Allanson-Dundon, MS, LPC, Network Director, Clinical Therapy Services at SLUHN, will present Living Life Better, a series of “virtual education and support groups” to staff of Piramal Critical Care in the United Kingdom and European Union starting March 9, as well as to their coworkers in Bethlehem. This is the second half of an arrangement between St. Luke’s and Piramal, which grew from last summer’s sessions Allanson-Dundon made to the Bethlehem workers. Piramal Critical Care is a leading global manufacturer of anesthesia medicines used in hospitals and outpatient settings.

Because mental health is being severely impacted by the isolation, depression, increased substance abuse and other side effects of the COVID pandemic, Piramal’s United Kingdom branch will benefit from this series, as did their American colleagues last summer, says Allanson-Dundon.

During six, monthly sessions, Allanson-Dundon will meet via Microsoft Teams virtual technology with all employees who wish to attend at both locations. Her format will be a blend of brief education remarks and “talk therapy,” based on questions and comments from the participants from both locations. The employees will have the option of maintaining their confidentiality and anonymity during the meetings.

"We encourage our Piramal colleagues to participate in this informative and enriching program and hope they benefit from the sharing, listening and absorbing of the information and support that Amie offers," says Ash Shetty Perera, Human Resources for Piramal, United Kingdom.

The first six virtual sessions Allanson-Dundon presented to the local Piramal group last June met with an enthusiastic response from the participants. She covered topics including depression, anxiety, work-life balance, stress and substance addiction, all symptoms that worsened during COVID.

“Now that we’re are a year into this pandemic, we as individuals and as a global society are experiencing long-term traumatic stress symptoms, and worsening of emotional well-being,” says Allanson-Dundon. “Our goal at St. Luke’s is to help people learn to be better manage these issues and improve their mental and emotional ‘wellness’ during this time of major isolation and change.”

She will make a short presentation at each hour-long session, then lead a discussion focused on questions and comments from her audience. She is impressed that the UK-based Piramal branch across “the pond” reached out for this support, adding, “UK employers and employees are expressing their openness to talking about mental health issues and their desire to have open and meaningful conversation about how to best move forward and heal.”