Topics in Mental Health

Creating a sustainable culture of mental health and wellbeing is a top priority at the University of Iowa. As part of this effort, university experts provide insight and guidance into the many aspects of how to integrate work and life so we can best care for ourselves while also caring for others.

people running on cement trail

Fitness and Mental Health

Friday, April 28, 2023
I am about to tell you something you probably already know: Exercise is good for your mental health. You have likely heard it before, and you might even believe it to be true. Whether you have been an avid exerciser for years, currently exercise, or have exercised in the past, your body rewarded you with the hormones that improve your sense of well-being and mood.
pile of rocks balancing

Performance Enhancement for the Workplace: Visualizing Your Best Self

Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Last year, I was navigating a career transition as I was about to become the first director of sport psychology and student-athlete mental health at Iowa while also maintaining my clinical professor role within the Department of Psychiatry. At the same time, I was also preparing for my oldest daughter’s high school graduation and taking in all of her “lasts” as a senior while being flooded with emotions while vividly recalling many of her “firsts.”
wooden letters spelling out grace

The Profound Importance of a Nearly Invisible Act: 6 Tips for Living in Grace

Friday, April 14, 2023
I think about my impact on others. I also remember the people who have had an impact on my life by allowing me to make mistakes and grow with dignity. The professor who let me assert myself as a 20-year-old, colleagues who have tolerated my growing pains, parents who let thoughtless words pass. With the benefit of time and experience, their kindness is revealed to me, and I feel their grace in my life.
two hands reaching for a black paper heart

Overcoming Stigma Around Mental Health

Friday, April 7, 2023
After the birth of my third child, I found myself bursting into tears for no reason and I had no energy. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and responded well to medication. When I told one of my fellow family practice physicians how much better I was feeling, he quickly hushed me and told me I shouldn’t let people know I had been treated for depression. I was stunned. As physicians, we know depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and is treatable with medication.
Coffee cup next to laptop computer

Healthy Vulnerability in the Workplace

Tuesday, April 4, 2023
The pace of work sometimes demands we function at 110%, juggling multiple high-stakes projects and priorities, all with unflappable composure
Image of a notebook with a to-do list

Feeling busy? Create healthy routines using habit science

Monday, March 20, 2023
In 2022, my husband and I became first-time parents. While we were overwhelmed with joy and excitement when welcoming our son into the world, we learned quickly that we were not immune to the juggling act of being full-time working parents.
image of a street and text that reads "don't give up"

Grit and Taxes

Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Successful people find areas of interest, develop those interests into a passion, and keep going despite inevitable setbacks.
Image of a sculpture showing the word "Listen"

I am Here to Listen: Empathy Over Judgment

Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Empathy has no script. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It's simply listening, holding safe space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of “you are not alone.”
A path in the forest with colorful fallen leaves and snow on the ground.

A Lesson from the Macbride Nature Recreation Area

Monday, February 20, 2023
I grew up visiting Iowa’s field campus, the Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA), home to my earliest memories of exploring outdoors. It is the place with the “little house” in the forest, in which my sister and I would peer out the window at the bird feeders, counting the songbirds and making up names for each one we saw.
Scrabble letters arranged to spell "Resilience," placed in front of an arrangement of flowers

Bouncing Back as a Leader

Tuesday, February 14, 2023
As a college dean who began my position on March 1, 2020, and then closed all in-person activities 13 days later, I’m often asked to comment on the topic of resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to recover from traumatic or cumulative stresses. Early research on resilience emphasized the role of genetics – as in “some people are just born resilient.” However, more recent research shows that some people become more resilient over their lifetimes – suggesting that there are things we can all do to bounce back more quickly and effectively.