AME Center collaborates with Department of Psychiatry to create full service website for the pandemic and climate change

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the UCSF AME Center has launched a unique site featuring emotional well-being resources.

COVID-19 has presented a difficult challenge in many aspects of our lives. As this year has continued to evolve and present complex obstacles, many of us have found greater demands on our overall health and well-being. 

To help during these times, AME Center Director Elissa Epel, PhD, and Lab Director Elena Fromer have worked with colleagues across the UCSF Department of Psychiatry to create a webpage of mental health resources which was recently featured in the New York Times California Today. Rather than just listing resources or bullet points, it offers advice from deep experts in the range of mental health issues, from maintaining good sleep and exercise to current issues in the anti-racism movement, climate change, and political stress. 

The site is divided into eleven sections, with a focus on everyday tips on how to keep you and your family's mental health resilient. The site also offers resources on more specific topics such as: how to support your health during the wildfires, manage stress with the upcoming election, and tips for managers and leaders during this time. See some of the highlights and links to the website below. 

Managing Political and Election Stress

We are all experiencing political stress, and it may last well past the election. This is a time to plan ahead, keep calm, and prevent harm from overconsumption of news. It is important to plan ahead now — set up your days to be balanced and build in some stress reduction. Here are some tips for managing news overload and getting through November 2. 

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Dealing with pandemic fatigue and avoiding COVID burnout

You are not alone. We are in the marathon stretch of the pandemic after over half a year of coping with social distancing and isolation, uncertainty, financial stressors, and changes in every walk of life. Find information on pandemic fatigue and how to prevent burnout. 

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Anti-Racism Resources

This section, curated by Elena Fromer, offers resources for engaging in anti-racism work, practicing solidarity, and self-care for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). These resources are largely provided by the UCSF Office for Diversity and Outreach, as well as additional resources for health care providers. The COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our lives and exposed the heavy impact on minority communities. On top of this, we have compounded trauma from individual and institutional racism in the U.S. This is a time for everyone, regardless of social, racial, and ethnic identity, to become aware of the systemic racism in our institutions and society, and do our part to remedy it. Here we provide resources to support your well-being, bolster you when you are targeted and discriminated against, and stand as active allies and partners during this challenging time.

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Coping With Wildfires and Climate Change Crises

In the Bay Area and elsewhere, we are now living in an unprecedented period of extreme unpredictability with climate change, resulting in wildfires and smoke, poor air quality, and extreme temperature changes. These require a new mindset—one where we are prepared for these events as much as we can be. Read more in this section on how to prepare and protect yourself from environmental challenges. 

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Tips for Managers and Leaders during COVID-19

Managers across the world struggle with how to adjust to the “new normal” of COVID-19 and the impact on their workforce. As a manager, it is hard to know what their staff needs to feel supported because we are in such uncharted territory. Also, staff might feel hesitant to reach out for help--especially in healthcare where there is a culture of being self-reliant. Studies have shown that staff who feel supported by their manager are more resilient and can get more work done. With this in mind, below is a guide with suggestions that managers can try in their work settings. We hope you find this helpful.

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Resilience and Emotional Well-Being Video Series

To help you navigate the unique mental health and wellness challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCSF Department of Psychiatry has put together a collection of short videos focused on ways we can protect and enhance our own emotional well-being. The videos, which are available for free on YouTube, feature strategies and techniques shared by mental health experts at UCSF, as well as some of our colleagues from around the nation. 

If you are interested in contributing a video to our library, please contact us at [email protected].

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About the UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center 

The UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions (AME) Center, based at the UCSF Center for Health and Community, conducts research on how people can thrive in both mind and body, especially when under severe adversity such as poverty, caregiving, work stress, and depression. We focus on understanding optimal health, through interrelationships between biological aging, metabolism, and emotion regulation.

About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 

The UCSF Department of PsychiatryUCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.

UCSF Psychiatry conducts its clinical, educational and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including UCSF campuses at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay and Laurel Heights, UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the San Francisco VA Health Care System, and UCSF Fresno.

About UCSF

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise.

It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals – UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians, and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program is a major branch of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.