Mental Wellbeing in Women – It’s Different

Mental disorders can affect women and men differently. Some disorders are more common in women such as depression and anxiety. In fact, depression is the most common mental health problem for women, and women experience depression at twice the rate of men. There are also certain types of disorders that are unique to women. For example, some women may experience symptoms of mental disorders such as postpartum depression at times of hormone change.

More than 1 in 5 women in the United States experienced a mental health condition in the past year, with depression being the most common condition.

Is it More Than Just Being Tired?

You have just welcomed a new baby into your life, so you couldn’t be happier, right? For some women, that is not the case. Instead, some new mothers experience feelings of sadness and disinterest. Too often, the underlying problem is postpartum depression, but is dismissed as exhaustion. While there is no single cause of postpartum depression, physical and emotional issues play a role.

Physical changes. After childbirth, a dramatic drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in your body may contribute to postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by your thyroid gland also may drop sharply — which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and depressed.

Emotional issues. When you’re sleep deprived and overwhelmed, you may have trouble handling even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for a newborn. You may feel less attractive, struggle with your sense of identity or feel that you’ve lost control over your life. Any of these issues can contribute to postpartum depression.

Following the birth of a baby, some women are reluctant or embarrassed to admit that they are depressed or they may be unsure of what they are feeling. If you or your loved one experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor or ask a family member to schedule an appointment to help you determine if you are dealing with postpartum depression:

  • Feelings don’t fade after two weeks
  • The way you feel is getting worse
  • What is happening is making it hard for you to care for your baby
  • What is happening is making it hard to complete everyday tasks
  • The way you feel includes thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Mental Wellbeing and Body Image Connection

A big challenge to women and their mental health, often beginning at a young age, concerns body image – how you think and feel about your body. The media focuses on showing women who are thin and attractive, and often computer technology is used to alter the pictures. As a result, girls and young women often try to reach beauty and body ideals that do not exist in the real world. This can lead to mental and physical health challenges such as anorexia and bulimia. The National Eating Disorders Association offers these helpful ten steps to keep in mind when you think about your body image.

How Do I Know if it’s Mental Illness?

There are many types of mental illness that both men and women face. Figuring out what is considered “normal” mental health can be challenging. Here are some questions and guidelines to consider:

  • Is my nervousness becoming a phobia? When does “just feeling sad” become depression?
  • If you’re experiencing a change in your thoughts, behaviors, or moods that is interfering with your work or relationships for longer than 2 weeks, you may be experiencing a mental health illness.
  • Symptoms of a mental health condition can include extreme anxiety most of the time, feelings of hopelessness about everything, or drug or alcohol abuse.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

If you are concerned about your own mental wellbeing or that of a loved one, reach out to your doctor or a nurse, a mental health professional, or a trusted loved one for help. There is no shame in seeking help or guidance to determine if you are dealing with a mental illness.

The Employee Assistance Program is a free Pearson benefit that offers five, no cost, face to face or video consultations and unlimited phone sessions. It’s a good starting point for understanding what might be happening and getting your questions answered.

Our Support is Key for Those with Mental Health Disorders

We can all make a difference by Stamping out the Stigma or changing the conversation associated with mental health disorders. Mental health diagnoses are more prevalent than heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, migraines, osteoporosis and asthma. Too often, though, misconception and misinformation have left many people with mental illness afraid to talk about their experiences. Keep an open mind and be educated about mental health so you know the signs and can be a resource.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help immediately. You can call 911, the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text “BRAVE” to 731731.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees

Get Moving! National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, designated in 1983 by the President’s Council on Fitness to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, 60 minutes for children, at least five days a week. Providing opportunities for children to be active early on puts them on a path to better physical and mental health while helping them to develop life-long fitness habits.

No Equipment is No Excuse

How many different reasons can you come up with for not being physically active? We’ve all said things like, “I don’t like gyms” or “I don’t have the equipment in my home” or “I don’t have the time.” The good news is that we don’t need to be gym members to get moving. There are daily activities we can do in our lives, in our homes and in our communities that help us get moving.

Activities that Keep Us Physically Fit

  • Walk the dog with the whole family
  • Park your car as far away as possible so you have to walk a longer distance from your destination. Even better, walk or cycle to run errands in your community
  • Go for a hike or bike ride
  • Plant and care for a vegetable garden (then cook the vegetables for healthy meals)
  • Start your day with a morning stretch or end your day with calming yoga.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator

Staying Active During the Pandemic

With gyms across the nation the closed and social distancing measures still in place in some locations, try these tips for staying physically and mentally fit:

  • Look for free deep breathing, meditation or mindfulness apps such as Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace
  • Get outside every day for fresh air and sunlight
  • Eat healthy, whole foods and keep lots of healthy snacks and fruit in the house; limit consumption/get rid of sugary snacks and processed foods
  • Drink lots of water – keep a bottle on your desk all day
  • Stand up during the day – take calls standing, walking around house, on a treadmill or bike
  • Maintain exercise routines
  • “Walk the dog” even if you don’t have one
  • Put a recurrent reminder on your calendar to get up, stretch, walk around, etc.
  • Create a challenge for yourself and/or with colleagues
  • Look for free exercise apps such as 7-minute workout, Nike Training, etc.
  • Search YouTube or your cable provider for free yoga, cardio and strength training routines
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule – aim for 7 – 8 hours per night
  • Incorporate some ergonomic exercises into your workday. Examples include shoulder rolls, wrist rolls, hand stretches, neck stretches, hip stretches, hand grips (squeezing a stress ball or hand grip)

And, if you are working remotely, remember to create a space dedicated for work only and with some privacy. Ensure your workspace is set up properly and you have what you need. Don’t be tempted to start work the moment you get up and use your “commuting” time to take a pre-work walk. Treat your work at home days as if you were going to the office. Dress appropriately (within reason – probably don’t need to wear a suit but don’t wear pajamas either!) And finally, take a lunch break. Try to keep a regular work schedule and turn off the computer by a certain time each day and walk away.

Staying Active for Individuals with Disabilities

Children and adults with disabilities can gain numerous mental and physical benefits from being physically active on a regular basis including: reduced risk of chronic and secondary conditions, improved self-esteem and greater social interaction. Look for opportunities in inclusive programs that are already in place at local community and recreation centers, health and fitness facilities, public agencies and park departments, or sports clubs.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees

Saying “No” To Tobacco

For decades the tobacco industry has used varying ways to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. In response, the World Health Organization will sponsor World No Tobacco Day on May 31. The goal is to inspire young people to spread the word that they will not be manipulated into using these harmful products.

The World No Tobacco Day 2020 global campaign aims to:

  • Expose tactics used by the tobacco and nicotine industries, particularly marketing ploys directed at youth, including the introduction of new products, flavors and other tempting features.
  • Equip young people with knowledge about the tobacco and nicotine industries’ intentions to hook current and future generations on tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Empower influencers (in pop culture, on social media, in the home, or in the classroom) to be a part of the change through education and promotion of the fight against tobacco use.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is working across the globe to stop tobacco from addicting a new generation of product users. The current trend toward e-cigarettes or vaping is creating a whole new set of concerns around the dangers of these products, particularly for teens and young adults. According to the Surgeon General, e-cigarette use can result in the following:

  • Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.
  • The effects of nicotine exposure during youth and young adulthood can be long-lasting and can include lower impulse control and mood disorders.
  • E-cigarette use among youth and young adults is strongly linked to the use of other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco.
  • The aerosol from e-cigarettes can contain harmful chemicals, including:
    • nicotine
    • flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
    • organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust

According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 5.3 million kids in the U.S. now use e-cigarettes – an increase of over 3 million in just two years.

Visit the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General’s website for more information and tips on educating your child about the dangers of this habit.

Adult Smoking Decreases, But…

While children are the main focus of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, there are still millions of adults using tobacco-related products in the United States. In fact, despite great progress in reducing smoking levels, it remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and takes its toll on families, businesses and the government. In our country, tobacco kills more than 480,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, homicides and suicides combined.

Let’s Not Forget Secondhand Smoke

We cannot ignore the fact that smoking can have an impact on those around us who do not actually smoke. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke and the known chemicals in it are causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children. They are also known causes of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers. The Department of Health and Human Services provides helpful information about the dangers of secondhand smoke and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Remember, your Pearson prescription drug plan provides smoking cessation products prescribed by your doctor at no cost to you. Contact CVS Caremark (or your health plan if enrolled in HMSA, Kaiser or Triple-S) for additional information.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees

New Loan Payment Provision for the 401(k)

Saving for retirement is one of the most important life decisions you’ll make. It has a direct effect on ensuring you have enough money to enjoy a comfortable standard of living when you stop or reduce the hours you want to work. With this in mind, Pearson is modifying the existing loan policy in the 401(k) Plan to allow more flexibility in paying back loans should you leave Pearson. Effective June 1, 2020, employees with an outstanding loan balance who terminate employment with Pearson will be able to continue to repay their outstanding loan in monthly installments rather than risk defaulting on the loan. If you have an outstanding loan from the 401(k) Plan upon termination, Empower will automatically re-amortize your loan to allow for monthly repayment of your balance. You will receive a loan re-amortization confirmation, which includes repayment instructions. Please contact Empower at 1-844-465-4455 if you have any questions.

Coronavirus – Related Enhancements to The Pearson Retirement Plan (401(k) Plan)

In a legislative effort to provide support and protection to the many people who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Congress recently passed the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Its aim is to assist those who may be in need due to the pandemic. The following three (3) provisions will apply to the 401(k) effective June 1, 2020:

1. Initiating New Loans

The CARES Act increases the maximum loan amount from the lesser of $50,000 or 50% to the lesser of 100% or $100,000 of the participant’s vested balance. In order to benefit from this increased maximum, new loans must be initiated on or before September 22, 2020. Coronavirus-related loans can only be initiated by calling Empower. Coronavirus-related loans cannot be initiated from Empower’s website.

2. Delaying Loan Payments for Existing Loans

If you currently have an outstanding loan balance, and loan payments are due between now and December 31, 2020, you may be able to delay them. Remaining loan payments beginning in 2021 will be re-amortized, and the loan maturity date will be extended to reflect those repayment delays plus accrued interest.

Eligibility

To be eligible for either of the loan provisions described above, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 with a test that has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Your spouse or dependent has tested positive for COVID-19
  • You have experienced negative financial consequences, such as being furloughed, quarantined or laid off — or you are facing reduced working hours or the inability to work due to lack of childcare because of COVID-19

Before Accessing Money from Your Retirement Account

Because taking a loan from your account can have a material effect on your ability to accumulate retirement savings, it’s always a good idea to speak with a financial professional so you can stay on track — and stay the course. To model various loan scenarios, visit the Empower Retirement participant website and access the “Loan cost calculator” found on the left-hand side of The Pearson Retirement Plan “Account” page, under “Loans and Withdrawals.” This tool, as well as other valuable online resources, are always available to help you reach your long-term goals. As your savings situation evolves, you may have additional concerns in the days, weeks and months ahead. Please contact Empower at 1-844-465-4455, if you have questions, and to learn about the options described in this article.

3. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

The CARES Act eliminated the requirement to take a 2020 required minimum distribution. A required minimum distribution is the minimum amount of funds you must withdraw from your account each year or be subject to a 50% excise tax on the amount not distributed as required. You are required to take an RMD when you attain age 72 (or if you turned age 70 if your birthday was prior to January 1, 2020). If you were subject to a 2020 RMD, you are no longer required to withdraw your 2020 RMD amount. If this applies to you, you should have received communication from Empower outlining your options and any actions you need to take. Please contact Empower at 1-844-465-4455 if you have any questions or want to better understand your options.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees

It’s Time!Enroll in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)

Offering Period: January to June 2021

Enrollment Window: November 30 to Dec 11, 2020

As a benefits-eligible employee, you can now join, change or cancel your enrollment in the Pearson Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Enrollment for the next Offering Period, January to June 2021, will begin on Monday, November 30 and end on December 11, 2020.

The ESPP provides eligible employees with the opportunity to purchase Pearson stock at a 15% discount through after-tax payroll deductions. Here’s how it works:

  • When you join the ESPP you elect to contribute a portion of your pay from January 2021 through June 2021. This is called the “Offering Period.”
  • You can elect a fixed dollar amount with a minimum of $20 per month to a maximum of $1,000 per month over the course of the Offering Period. This amount is deducted monthly from the second pay period of the month
  • On the last day of the Offering Period, the plan will purchase shares of Pearson stock at a 15% discount using the total amount you’ve contributed.
  • Shares you buy are yours and are managed by Computershare Shareowner Services.

To act, please do the following beginning June 1:

  1. Visit EMPOWER Retirement’s website or call 1-844-465-4455
  2. Click the “Pearson plc Employee Stock Purchase Plan” link, then “Visit Website”, which will direct you to the Computershare homepage
  3. Click the “enroll, sell, view” button associated with “Employee Plan Stock” and agree to the terms and conditions that follow
  4. Do either a. or b.:
    • Click on “Enroll” associated with the “December 2020 Purchase” or
    • Select “Amend” or “Cancel” – associated with the “December 2020 Purchase” – to either change or stop your current election
  5. Validate your enrollment by clicking “Submit”
  6. Print the confirmation page for your records

CURRENT Enrollees

You will not be able to cancel/withdraw from the current ESPP offering period after November 29. The current offering period ends on December 11, 2020.

NEW Enrollees

When enrolling for the first time you may be prompted to complete either a Form W9 (for U.S. citizens) or Form W8-BEN (for non-U.S. citizens). This is for IRS tax certification purposes and failure to certify may result in required tax withholding.

To access your account or for more information, click here to visit EMPOWER’s website or call
1-844-465-4455.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees

Welcome to the spring edition of For Your Benefit Magazine

Welcome to the spring edition of For Your Benefit. Since the March magazine, COVID-19 cases have escalated in the United States. The promising news is that some jurisdictions are beginning to slowly relax some of the shelter-in-place policies. With that in mind, I want to take a moment to remind you that you can find information here about ways to minimize your risk of exposure to the virus and Pearson resources that are available to you and any eligible dependents.

There is a lot to talk about in this issue, including the Employee Stock Purchase Plan enrollment, enhancements to our 401(k) plan, Women’s Mental Health and more. Here’s a look at just some of what you will learn about these topics.

While we often focus on our emotional and physical health, and for good reason, it is just as important that we highlight the importance of financial health. As we discussed in the March magazine, poor financial health can impact our mental and physical health. To that end, we are adopting more generous loan features within the 401(k) plan. The goal remains the same – to save money so that we can have a comfortable retirement. However, we also understand that emergencies do arise. Take a moment to read the articles dedicated to the 401(k) to learn more.

Mental health disorders can be very different in women than in men. Find out why that is as we look at some of the causes for mental health issues in women, what to look for when something may be a larger problem, and how to get help.

Finally, you will want to read the article about the opportunity to enroll in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP), where you can purchase Pearson stock at a 15% discount. Take a look inside for more information about how the Plan works so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the magazine. There is always helpful information to be learned as well as reminders of the many ways your Pearson Benefits can support your efforts to maintain your best health. We will return in the fall with another edition of For Your Benefit so, until then, be sure to stay informed about benefits topics with our monthly ehealth messages or visit the benefits website.

In Good Health,

Stacey's signature

Stacey Rodgers
Director, Global Benefits

Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees

Spring Edition of For Your Benefit

ESPP Enrollment

Read The Full Story

Coronavirus related
Enhancements to The Pearson retirement Plan (401(k) Plan)

Read The Full Story

New Loan Payment
Provision for the 401(k)

Read The Full Story

Mental Wellbeing
in Women – It’s Different

Read The Full Story

Get moving! National
Physical Fitness and
Sports Month

Read The Full Story

Say “no”
to tobacco

Read The Full Story

CORONAVIRUS What You Need to Know

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Symptoms associated with the virus are mild to severe fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, and there is no specific antiviral treatment for the virus.

How to Minimize Your Risk of Exposure:

We encourage employees to minimize the risk of exposure by following these tips:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid touching your eye, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Additionally, in light of the recent Coronavirus outbreak within the US, the CDC recommends leveraging telehealth to direct people to the right level of healthcare for their medical needs. Adopting telehealth will help limit the spread of the virus by eliminating the risk of exposure to germs in the ER, urgent care, and your primary doctor’s office.

As a reminder, Pearson offers telehealth coverage through MDLIVE. MDLIVE offers you and your qualified dependents access to board-certified physicians, therapists, and counselors from the comfort of your home.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • MDLIVE physicians diagnose and treat 50 of the most common conditions, along with providing temporary prescription refills.
  • MDLIVE continually monitors the CDC guidelines and recommendations around the Coronavirus disease. MDLIVE physicians are prepared to screen patients and their symptoms to determine the severity and whether symptoms align with the COVID-19.
  • If concerns for coronavirus are present during your medical visit, the MDLIVE physician will help guide you to the appropriate level of care.
  • MDLIVE therapists and counselors can also help treat behavioral health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, and more and offers convenient evening and weekend appointments.

We understand this is a stressful time for our employees. If you or a qualified dependent have Coronavirus-like symptoms present, we recommend you call MDLIVE immediately. We also encourage those who may be feeling overwhelmed with the coronavirus outbreak and coverage to call MDLIVE behavioral health to help support you during this time. All MDLIVE sessions are private and secure.

March Edition of For Your Benefit

CORONAVIRUS

What You Need To Know

Read The Full Story

COLORECTAL CANCER

Read The Full Story

The Financial Fitness

CONNECTION
TO HEALTH

Read The Full Story

EAT RIGHT, BITE BY BITE

Nutrition Month

Read The Full Story

It’s FREE

Managing Your Finances Webinars

Read The Full Story

POISON PREVENTION

Read The Full Story

FINANCIAL BURDENS AND MENTAL HEALTH

Read The Full Story