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Emotional Support and Well-Being Resources for Postdocs

Return to Postdoc Services RESOURCES

Consultation and support are available to postdocs and their families who are seeking assistance with mental and emotional well-being. Resources include:

Mental Health Resources for Individuals and Families (overview from Duke Today)

 Duke Personal Assistance Service (PAS)

  • Personal Assistance Service (PAS) is the faculty/employee assistance program of Duke University and Health System. Our staff of licensed professionals offers assessment, short-term counseling, and referrals to help resolve a range of personal, work, and family problems. PAS services are available at no charge to benefits-eligible Duke postdocs and their family members.  Telephone and video sessions are easy to access through a smartphone, tablet or laptop. For an appointment, visit or call the PAS office at 919-416-1727.
  • Duke’s Personal Assistance Service (PAS) has partnered with an outside provider to offer short-term counseling for staff and faculty and eligible family members who work outside of North Carolina. In recent years, larger numbers of faculty and staff are now working remotely beyond the borders of North Carolina. Through an arrangement with BHS, these individuals can now get up to eight no-cost, confidential consultations similar to the services offered through PAS for mental and emotional well-being concerns from clinicians in their states. Due to state license and legal regulations, PAS can only serve employees and eligible family members based in North Carolina and can only refer out-of-state employees seeking help to clinicians covered by Duke’s health insurance plans for standard visits. But now through BHS, out-of-state employees can be connected with clinicians in their own area for in-person or virtual consultations, and referral services for a broad range of concerns for themselves or eligible family members. Staff and faculty outside of North Carolina can now call BHS at 1-800-327-2251 (press option 1 on main menu) to schedule time to talk with a counselor about a broad range of difficulties that can interfere with health, life and work.

 Duke Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Benefits

  • Duke offers both outpatient and inpatient behavioral health and substance abuse benefits under each of our medical plans. Benefits are administered through Cigna Behavioral Health. Cigna Behavioral Health now allows video visits for patients seeing a participating in-network provider. The co-pay is the same as an in-person visit.

Duke Behavioral Health Urgent Access

  • The Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has same-day appointments available (in-person and telephone-based) for postdocs and their families (including children) who are seeking support related to stress management, coping resources, and behavioral health concerns. In-person appointments are available between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. Extended hours are available for telehealth services. A team of social workers, psychologists, advanced practice providers, and psychiatrists is available Monday through Friday at two outpatient clinic sites in Durham: Civitan Building, 2213 Elba St, Durham, NC, and Exchange on Erwin, 2608 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC. Services may be accessed by contacting the behavioral health referral coordination team of social workers at 919-681-1631.

Duke Health Coaching Programs

Coaches work in partnership with you to achieve a higher level of physical and emotional well-being, especially in areas where making change is hard. The coach will work with you to discover and clarify the goals that you wish to achieve, and will help you facilitate changes that you choose to make over a period of time. Through collaboration with a coach, you will find solutions and strategies to making changes, and an accountability partner to hold you responsible for the choices you make. Common health goals are:

  • Improve sleep
  • Manage stress
  • Lose Weight
  • Lower cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Improve blood sugar control
  • Improve eating habits
  • Improve exercise habits

The program lasts for 12 weeks, and up to 12 sessions. Those engaged with the program will be eligible for continuous re-enrollment. Initial coaching sessions are expected to last for 30-45 minutes, with subsequent sessions lasting 20-30 minutes. Typically, sessions occur weekly, and then taper to bi- monthly or monthly when the participant is ready. Most sessions will occur via Zoom in a private meeting room with your coach. Once established, sessions may occur via phone, email, zoom, or on occasion, in-person meetings can be established with your coach. All Duke benefits eligible employees are eligible for this program.

 Duke Telephone Emotional Support & Well-Being Line 919-681-1631

  • This free telephone service is staffed by a team of advanced clinical psychology interns, social workers, and Duke psychology faculty. It is available from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except for University holidays.
  • This service offers confidential support and resources, including linkage to other clinical services, including Duke Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and/or appointments with a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and/or social workers who are available at Duke or in the community. 
  • Individuals may call and talk with a healthcare professional who has experience as a supportive and compassionate listener. Practical resources to support you and your family are also available.
  • The content of the calls will be confidential and there is no documentation in a caller’s medical record. In the event that a caller reports an acute safety concern, the team member will need to share information to connect the caller with the support to ensure safety.

Duke Postdoc Buddy Program

  • Duke Postdoctoral Services and DUPA sponsor a buddy system to encourage connection between postdocs. If you are interested in having a buddy to talk to, or if you are interested in becoming a buddy to another postdoc, please participate in the Duke Postdoc Buddy Program. We will connect you with each other.

Ambulatory Referrals to Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology for Pediatric Patients

  • Through the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, children may be scheduled for in-person urgent appointments between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday at the Lakeview clinic near Duke’s main campus. Telehealth appointments are available.
  • In addition, providers can call the Duke Children's Evaluation Center (DCEC) at 919-385-3232 to seek services for children. Families can also self-refer by calling the same number.

Duke Health COVID-19 Information Resources

  • Use these resources to stay informed on COVID-19 and what is happening at Duke, including vaccine updates, the NC COVID-19 hotline, and the Duke Health COVID-19 hotline.

General Helplines and Resources for Mental Health Support, Wellness, and Mindfulness

The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7/365 crisis counseling and support for anyone in the US experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including public health emergencies. The network of independently-operated crisis centers around the US provides psychological first aid, emotional support, crisis assessment and intervention, and referrals to local/state behavioral health services for follow-up care & support.

  • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text of “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
  • Spanish speakers can call the hotline and press “2” for 24/7 bilingual support or text “Hablanos” for Spanish to 66746.
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing - TTY 1-800-846-8517 or can text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
  • Callers to the hotline can connect with counselors in 100+ languages via 3rd party interpretation services; to connect with a counselor in one’s primary language, indicate preferred language to the responding counselor and they will connect to a live interpreter.

The HopeLine offers help and hope to those suffering from isolation and loneliness, whether or not related to coronavirus.

  • Call 1-866-578-4673 or 1-866-578-HOPE from 9am to 9pm for social isolation support.
  • Separately, the HopeLine offers crisis services 24/7, call or text 919-231-4252 or 1-877-235-4525.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine is a nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health conditions, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.

  • Call 1-800-950-6264, Monday-Friday, 10:00am to 6:00pm EST
  • Or text 919-999-6527, Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 5pm EST
  •  Outside of business hours, text NAMI to 741-741 for crisis services available 24/7

NAMI has also complied resources around information for COVID-19 as well as practical ways to help with stress during this crisis:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) has a fact sheet providing tips for taking care of your behavioral health during isolation:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the national network of telephone crisis hotlines, is 988. You can also text the Crisis Text Line— text “START” to 741-741. More information is available at:

Other Duke Resources


Office of Postdoctoral Services - Resources