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Session 1 will introduce taking time for yourself and specifically taking a few moments to “pause”. The purpose of the session is for participants to focus on the present moment, taking time to pause and become aware of their thoughts and breath. Consider pausing throughout the day – before or after patient care, at the end of a shift, or when a person catches themselves starting to feel uncomfortable. Taking time to focus, even for a few minutes, can help improve mood, decrease anxiety, and lessen feelings of stress.
Michelle Zechner, Ph.D., LSW, CPRP is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers-SHP, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Programs and has focused her career on helping people and their families recover from mental illness for over 25 years, with special expertise in health promotion initiatives. She has worked in a variety of community and inpatient settings, including nursing homes, outpatient mental health services, state psychiatric hospitals, and community services for older adults. In her current role, she has focused on the implementation of evidence-based psychosocial practices in psychiatric hospitals, developing and testing health and wellness promotion interventions in community settings, teaching students, training diverse mental health staff on best practice interventions for older persons with mental health conditions, and conducting research. Dr. Zechner’s research includes the development of programs focused on multi-domain wellness for people with mental health conditions, promotion of and adherence to physical activity in persons with mental illness, use of peer health coaching strategies, and identifying best practices for use with older adults with mental health conditions. She has co-authored peer-reviewed and technical publications on health promotion for persons with mental illness and has presented her work at local, national, and international conferences. She is passionate about supporting older people with mental health conditions to improve their mental and physical health.
Peggy Swarbrick, Ph.D., FAOTA, is the Associate Director of the Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies and a Research Professor in the Applied Department of Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers. She developed a strength-based 8-dimensional wellness model to promote recovery from mental health and substance use and has created self-care wellness programs for people in recovery, caregivers, families, youth, and professionals. As a co-investigator, consultant, and collaborator on Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grants as well as the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) grants, she has contributed to research and been a lead for developing training and intervention manuals for many of these projects. Dr. Swarbrick was a co-investigator on Perspectives on the International Classification of Diseases (11th revision); Using lived experience to improve mental health diagnoses in the United States: INCLUDE – US Study. She worked for many years at the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Wellness Institute.