Our Year in Mental Health

In this collection of stories, The Nexus reflects on how the Jefferson community has come together to cope with the public health crises that upended 2020.

2020 brought with it unprecedented challenges and upheavals, with the ongoing pandemic, the movement for racial justice, and the election. The toll on our collective mental health has been significant, and will likely have lasting effects. Here we take a look back at the tips and strategies Jefferson mental health experts provided throughout the year to cope with stress and help someone else in crisis, how nurses and doctors on the frontline are providing peer support and adapting to these uncertain times, and how communities were impacted by and navigated a summer of unrest.

Taking Care of Your Mental Well-Being During a Pandemic

Tips and strategies from Dr. Deanna Nobleza, Director of the Student Personal Counseling Center and Emotional Health & Wellness Program for House Staff, on coping with stress, keeping up routines, and staying connected while in isolation.

A History of Injustice – Coping with Racial Trauma

In the wake of police violence against Black people, Dr. Shawn Blue, a staff psychologist at the Student Personal Counseling Center, shares her own experiences of dealing with the emotional impact of racial trauma, and offers tips for coping with the anger, grief, and pain.

hands in protest against policy brutality

Dr. Dimitri Papanagnou Wants Med Students to be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

To help address physician burnout, the Dr. Papanagnou, the associate dean for faculty development and associate professor of emergency medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College is working on a curriculum that focuses on the uncertainty in healthcare.

A Safe Space for Nurses to Share their Coronavirus Fears

Jefferson College of Nursing launches “Nurse2Nurse,” a Zoom-based initiative, where nurses can debrief with peers and talk about the overwhelming emotions they are experiencing as they battle the pandemic on the frontlines.

Group shot of Nurses
The "Swab Squad".

Art in Times of Crisis

Art can be a salve and an outlet in times of high uncertainty and stress. Dr. Rachel Brandoff, who practices and teaches art therapy at Jefferson discusses how art can help people create room for processing emotions.

Canine “Chief Compassion Officer” Maggie Works to Improve Mental Health

On Veterans Day this year, Jefferson College of Nursing celebrates and officially welcomed service dog, Maggie. Dubbed “chief compassion officer,” she encourages feelings of calmness and security for students, faculty and staff. The labrador comes to Jefferson from the veterans organization Leashes of Valor.

Dr. Marino and Maggie
Maggie and Jefferson College of Nursing Dean Dr. Marie Ann Marino, who is Maggie’s trained handler.

How to Have Difficult Conversations about COVID and Race Relations

In these emotionally charged times, you may find yourself having difficult conversations with loved ones about both the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread reactions sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Experts from Jefferson’s department of counseling and behavioral health offer tips on navigating divisive topics with loved ones.

Loneliness in Times of Isolation

Social isolation can change our brain and our lives. What are signs loneliness is affecting us, and how do we combat it?

Signs of loneliness and ways to prevent its bad effects infographic

CPR for Mental Health

Jefferson commits to unique mental health training – Mental Health First Aid – to build a community of safety, support and empathy – particularly important in a period of pandemic and isolation.

How to Manipulate Brain Waves for a Better Mental State

Understanding activity in the brain to help with sleep, stress and focus.

infographic on brainwaves

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