A free program for Queenslanders wishing to proactively support their mental wellbeing has today commenced through USC’s Thompson Institute.
The eight-week preventative program, EMERALD, offers one-on-one telehealth appointments and online education for adults with new feelings of worry, loneliness or gloominess, perhaps due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Institute Director and leading neuroscientist Professor Jim Lagopoulos said EMERALD supported people to implement healthy lifestyle strategies proven to help regain mental wellbeing early.
“EMERALD is designed to help people get on top of early signs of depression, anxiety or loneliness – before they worsen or become longer-term,” Professor Lagopoulos said.
“This kind of proactive mental wellbeing care is vital to aid prevention, and it’s particularly important now as we all face the repercussions of COVID-19 and the resulting predicted rises in mental ill-health,” he said.
Professor Lagopoulos said EMERALD would support people to put in place healthy self-care habits that are backed by neuroscience, including strategies related to social connection, mindfulness, sleep, diet and exercise.
“Participants receive one-on-one telehealth support from our allied health professionals to make lifestyle changes that are realistic and right for them, but also have access to online education that helps them understand why and how these strategies improve the health of their brain and mind,” he said.
“The program aims to give participants knowledge and strategies that they can use now and for life to proactively support their mental wellbeing,” he said.
Professor Lagopoulos said EMERALD’s eight-week program was free to Queenslanders thanks to Queensland Health funding.
EMERALD is already being offered to older members of the community through social support service provider Be, thanks to Australian Government Department of Health funding.
Be CEO Feda Adra said EMERALD was one way of helping their clients, who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its impacts, to stay resilient and well.
Queenslanders can register for EMERALD via the website usc.edu.au/EMERALD. Eligibility criteria apply.
EMERALD participants must be 18 or older and live in Queensland. Each participant is provided with:
• A health coach
• Choice of free allied health sessions (psychologist, dietitian, exercise physiologist)
• Online information that is research-backed.
All is free of charge.