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Q&A: Michigan Ross Faculty and Staff Prioritize Their Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and break down the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. 

Taking care of your mental health is incredibly important and there are many simple ways to improve and maintain mental well-being, such as meditation, walking, and eating healthy. By managing life’s stressors in a positive and healthy way, one can help to improve their emotional and physical health. Michigan Ross and the University of Michigan offer many free and low-cost resources for faculty, staff, and students. Those resources include the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office, MHealthy classes and tips, and other workplace well-being resources that are part of the Well-Being Collective at U-M.

In addition to the resources listed above, we asked some faculty and staff members to share what mental health awareness means to them, as well as what they do to support their mental health at work and at home.


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Ethan Kross
Professor of psychology and management & organizations, author of CHATTER

What does mental health awareness mean to you?
It means being sensitive to the extraordinary role that our emotions have on our lives.

How can we support the mental health of people around us at home and at work?
Normalize talking about mental health and fitness. It’s important to emphasize that mental health doesn’t deal only with vulnerability, but also our successes.

What are some ways that you maintain your mental health at work and at home?
I have a fantastic set of science-based tools I use to manage my emotions. Some of those tools involve practices I can implement on my own quickly and efficiently. Others leverage my close relationships. I also exercise and take walks outside regularly.

What actions can we as individuals take to overcome the mental health stigma in society today?
We need to normalize talking about these issues, familiarize ourselves with the science-based tools that have been documented for managing emotions, and share these tools with our colleagues, friends, and loved ones.


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Lisa Pappas
Director of communications and creative strategy, Office of Advancement

What does mental health awareness mean to you?
Mental health awareness is about being aware of your own responsibility to take care of your mental health. It is also a reminder to be sensitive to the mental-health needs of those around you. You just never know if or when someone may really be struggling.

How can we support the mental health of people around us at home and at work?
Follow the golden rule of treating people the way you would like to be treated. It really can be that simple!

What are some ways that you maintain your mental health at work and at home?
One thing I do to help maintain my physical and mental health is to participate in a lunch-time yoga class in the Och Fitness Center once a week. Each class is only 50 minutes long, and I always end up leaving feeling better than when I came in. Sara, the instructor, is wonderful. We are very fortunate to have such classes available to us, let alone at such reasonable prices.

Another thing I do is take walks regularly, even if they’re just quick strolls around the block (at home) or to the Diag and back (when at work). The fresh air and movement clears my mind.

I recently returned to a practice I started several years ago. At night when I go to bed, before I fall asleep, I list in my mind 10 things for which I am grateful related to that particular day — or 10 things that instilled meaning or positivity into the day. Granted, sometimes my list is quite a hodgepodge. Inevitably, no matter how challenging a day may have been, there are always things to be thankful for. By reflecting on each day to pinpoint what was good about it, I am able to nurture an attitude of gratitude and fall asleep on a positive note. My head and heart both benefit.

What actions can we as individuals take to overcome the mental health stigma in society today?
I think we can all contribute to overcoming the mental health stigma in society by being open and honest about any mental health struggles we may be experiencing ourselves.


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Marcus Collins
Clinical assistant professor of marketing

What does mental health awareness mean to you?
Psychological safety, peace, presence, and well-being.

How can we support the mental health of people around us at home and at work?
Pay mind to all the factors that impact people beyond the work they do by realizing that they are “people,” not merely “workers.”

What are some ways that you maintain your mental health at work and at home?
I make time to step away and recalibrate — often through prayer and family interaction.

What actions can we as individuals take to overcome the mental health stigma in society today?
Be selfish about our mental well-being. Take the time we need to make ourselves whole.


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Viorica Lazin
Ross embedded counselor & CAPS counselor

What does mental health awareness mean to you?
Mental health awareness means a lot to me. It is important to make a conscious effort of acknowledging the need for triadic connection between cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dimensions as part of our daily integrated self-care need. 

Why is it important to support the mental health of the people around us at home and at work?
Preventing work and educational burnout is not a luxury but a necessity, as each individual is unique, battling different challenges and/or battles on different personal, professional, social, or multicultural diverse domains. Complex stresses defeat and deplete one’s resilient adaptation and tax the body’s capacities to revitalize, exist, and function at their unique individual optimizing capacities.

What are some ways that you maintain your mental health at work and at home?
Pursuing one’s ideals and dreams of education; empowering, advocating, and facilitating a safe time to process the complexities of life, work, family, community, and spiritual relationships. 

What actions can we as individuals take to overcome the mental health stigma in society today?
Providing more mental health personnel and resources 24/7 so that seeking counseling becomes a daily status quo, just as seeking a good meal, or a refreshing glass of water — so all of us become educated, empowered, and made aware of the necessity of being kind to yourself and others. We can support each other to gain individual and collective positive self esteem, overcome negative self and other destructive emotional, mental, and behavioral misperceptions, judgments, or acts within one’s micro and macro environments.

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