Emory Report
September 14, 2009
Volume 62, Number 3


Embrace Your Mind
and Spirit events

Tuesday, Sept. 15
Seven Keys for Maintaining Personal Enthusiasm
Motivational speaker and trainer William O’Neal shares his inspiring message on developing your potential.
11 a.m. EUH Auditorium. Free; no pre-registration required.

Friday, Sept. 18
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter discusses mental health awareness and advocacy. 1 p.m. Cox Hall. Free; seating is limited.
To register, visit www.emoryhealthcare.org

Emory Report homepage  

September 14, 2009
Healthy Campus
Carter keynotes mind and spirit campaign

By Margie Fishman

The national economic downturn is taking a toll on the American mood. Yet while one in four people is affected by mental health problems each year, two-thirds of them don’t seek out the help they deserve.

“What we’re seeing today is that many Emory employees are stressed, having depleted their coping resources,” says John Wilson, a psychologist for the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) and co-chair of the new Step Up Emory: Embrace Your Mind and Spirit campaign. “We want them to know that help is available at Emory. They don’t have to feel ashamed.”

The stigma of mental illness is pervasive, says Wilson. Worried about being negatively perceived by friends, family members, supervisors or coworkers, many neglect their mental well-being until it spirals into a crisis.

Step Up Emory’s fall wellness initiative features two speakers who will highlight the spectrum of mental health, from prevention to serious mental illness. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will deliver a keynote address on Sept. 18 on her lifetime commitment to mental health advocacy, followed by a panel of Emory experts discussing mental health treatments and early intervention.

Back by popular demand, on Sept. 15 motivational speaker and trainer William O’Neal will explore ways to maintain personal enthusiasm during challenging times. Both events are free to faculty, staff and students. More information, including self-assessment tools and tips to relieve stress, is available at www.stepup.emory.edu.

In its third year, Step Up Emory is a health promotion campaign sponsored by Emory, Emory Healthcare, FSAP, Employee Health Services and HeartWise. FSAP staff are supporting the mental health theme this year to increase the visibility of the services they provide, including individual, couples and family counseling and coaching; support groups in stress reduction, anger management and grief; and workshops on parenting skills, career development and basic budgeting. President Jim Wagner underscored the University’s commitment to mental health in 2005, when he appointed a Mental Health Task Force.

FSAP clinicians offer short-term assistance to employees of Emory, along with facilitating referrals through the Emory health plans to community mental health providers, says FSAP Director Paula Gomes. Currently, about 6 percent of Emory faculty and staff use FSAP, which is in line with the national average for academic medical settings. Services are free and completely confidential. Early intervention is key, notes Gomes, before mental health challenges negatively impact work and family life.