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Brian Hogan's journey to becoming a teaching professor in the College of Arts and Science's chemistry department has been anything but a straight path. But through perseverance and an ask for help, the Tar Heel found a way to quiet the doubt that lingered in the back of his mind.

By John Roberts, University Communications, Monday, September 26th, 2022 | Original Post

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When Brian Hogan started his undergraduate studies, he thought he had his future as a scientist all figured out.

That feeling lasted until his first chemistry test, which he promptly failed.

“I felt like, ‘Well, I guess I’m done. I guess I’m not going to be a science major,” Hogan said. “Mentally, I started to doubt myself. I started to doubt that I could even do it.”

That doubt never really went away for Hogan. Even as he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry and landed a position as a teaching professor in the College of Arts and Science’s chemistry department, those thoughts of doubt and imposter syndrome lingered. It wasn’t until he asked for help and began working with mental health professionals that he turned a corner.

“It’s hard to change the way that you view the world when you’ve spent your whole adult life being really negative,” he said. “Once I changed the way that I looked at serving other people and being a teacher and being a mentor, I began to feel, ‘This is what makes me feel better about myself. It fills my soul.’ I’m lucky that I get to go to college every day for the rest of my life and be around really wonderful students as a college professor, that I can play some small part in their lives, and I get to do it over and over and over again, which is really rewarding.”

He now aims to help his students find joy in their lives.

“It’s OK if you don’t feel like your life is going in this perfect straight line,” Hogan said. “I’ve gotten to a point in my life where everything is going pretty well, but it wasn’t always easy and my path to get there was really circuitous, but I did persevere. I was able to get through it, and maybe they will find a little bit of solace in this story. I’ve been there. It turned out OK.”

Benefits of meditation and mindfulness practice and strategies to implement

Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or burnt out at this time of the semester is a common experience, and it can lead people to disengage from the things that matter most to them. When we feel overwhelmed, it can be tempting to disengage from our relationships, jobs, and academics as a way to avoid failure or to feel like we have some control over the situation.

Disengaging can seem like a solution in the moment, but it can have negative consequences in the long run. Instead of disengaging, it's important to find strategies that can help us manage our overwhelm and stay engaged:

  • Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks. Break larger projects into smaller, more manageable steps.
  • Take breaks and practice self-care activities such as movement, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself and avoid comparing your progress to others.
  • Use time-management techniques such as the Pomodoro technique, where you work for a set amount of time followed by a short break.
  • Get enough sleep and eat an array of yummy foods.
  • Reach out to professors, advisors, or other supportive services if needed.
  • Stay organized and use tools such as calendars and reminders to help manage deadlines.
  • Remember to celebrate accomplishments, even small ones, and give yourself credit for what you've achieved.

While the end of a college semester can be a challenging time, it is possible to overcome the anxiety, burnout, and overwhelm that often come with it. By employing these strategies, seeking support from those around you, staying engaged and focusing on what you can control, you can successfully navigate the end of the semester and emerge ready for whatever challenges lie ahead. Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as academic success, and finding a balance between the two is the best strategy for long-term success.

Since 2020, UNC-Chapel Hill has embedded Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) providers within various campus schools and programs including the School of Medicine and School of Law. 

Starting in January 2023, CAPS has embedded additional therapists in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. There are additional plans to place counselors in the Gillings School of Public Health and the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program.  

Embedded therapists can focus on and work with the students in those programs, allowing them to deeply understand the programs themselves, stressors specific to each school, and challenges faced by students within them. The embedded therapists can use program-specific knowledge and understanding to serve their students better in treatment as well as offer proactive groups and outreach to best meet broad student needs.  

Students in these programs can initiate services by emailing the embedded therapists directly.  

All students are welcome to access CAPS providers for an initial visit at their convenience Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 pm or 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm on the third floor of the James A. Taylor Student Health building. 

Director and assistant director answer questions about Counseling and Psychological Services for students and post-docs.

Carolina’s Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, is the mental health provider for students and post-doctoral fellows. CAPS provides initial assessments, brief therapy, group therapy, medication management and support for therapy referrals for off-campus providers. The Multicultural Health Program is a part of CAPS and provides culturally responsive mental health support and services and works to decrease mental health stigma.
Avery Cook, the CAPS director, and Erinn Scott, assistant director for multicultural health at CAPS, answer a few questions about CAPS.

Avery Cook

When should a student contact CAPS?

A student should contact CAPS anytime they feel they need some support with their mental health. Students come into CAPS for reasons that run the entire spectrum of concerns – from concerns around transitioning to college and developmental concerns to psychiatric crises.

Once a student contacts CAPS, what will happen next?

After an initial assessment, a student will leave that day with a plan for next steps to best address their mental health needs. This could be a connection within CAPS for services such as brief therapy, medication management or group therapy. It could also be a referral to an off-campus therapist for more open-ended treatment along with support from a CAPS referral coordinator or a connection to another office on campus.

What are a few things that you want students to know about CAPS?

We make it easy to access CAPS services. All first appointments are available on a walk-in basis so there’s no barrier to accessing care. CAPS also has support available 24/7, as a student is able to call CAPS anytime day or night and speak with a therapist for support. We want students to know that they are never alone in dealing with their mental health concerns. Someone is always available for support.

We also have a Multicultural Health Program, which centers the needs of Black, Indigenous and Students of Color on campus, working to decrease mental health stigma and increasing access to culturally responsive mental health support and services.

Erinn Scott

What is the Multicultural Health Program?

The Multicultural Health Program is a program within Counseling and Psychological Services that centers the mental health needs of students of color on Carolina’s campus. Our goal is to decrease mental health stigma and increase access to services among underrepresented student populations. Some ways that we reach students are through individual and group therapy, outreach and workshops, and developing relationships with campus partners and student organizations.

What can students expect if they reach out to the Multicultural Health Program?

Students who connect with MCHP can expect to connect with therapists who use culturally responsive mental health interventions. Students can also expect to engage in outreach and workshops that focus on topics of relevance to marginalized communities. As with all CAPS staff, the MCHP staff has a value of social justice and empowerment as well as meeting students where they are.

When would you encourage students to contact the Multicultural Health Program?

Building community is such an important part of the Carolina journey, and for students of color, this can mean being intentional about finding and creating spaces where students can bring their whole selves and show up authentically as well gain and give support to other students with shared identities. If students of color are struggling with that goal, that would be a good time to connect with the MCHP program to help discover ways to reach your goals.

Learn more about CAPS.

Originally By Caroline Daly, University Communications, Friday, September 1st, 2023

During a pandemic, with the winter weather disruptions of late, and the near-constant tensions in current events, none of us can be as productive as usual. The strategies below can help us be efficiently productive to allow time for self-care. 

Campus Survival is a Marathon, not a Sprint

Time is our most limited resource. If you're feeling exhausted but still don't have time for all of your work, make a change. Pause, evaluate how you're spending your time, and find solutions to help you work less but accomplish more. It's possible.

Self-Care is a Responsibility

Hobbies, physical movement, and rest are critical to your success as a student or employee. Self-care helps your mind and body be ready to focus, write, memorize and perform. Sleeping enough, seeing friends, cooking food, playing sports, finding fun - these activities genuinely help you produce better work. Learn which leisure activities are helpful and which only provide the illusion of rest and recovery. If you ever feel pressured to skip self-care, remember self-care is a responsibility, not an indulgence.

Watch for the Short-Term Task Trap

Life requires balancing three things: short-term tasks, long-term tasks, and self-care. Short-term tasks (due tomorrow, due this week, waiting for a reply) have the most visible deadlines, which push us to prioritize them. Alternatively, long-term tasks (writing a thesis, finishing a paper) and self-care activities (sleep, rest, play, movement) are much more important, but there is little consequence to letting time slip by without working on them. This makes it easy to start skipping on self-care or long-term projects. Fight to keep short-term tasks from taking over. Accountability helps.

  • Create your own deadlines and rules, like "3 pages by X date" or  "Go for a jog M/W/F" or "Meal with a friend 2x per week."
  • Reserve times exclusively for long-term tasks or self-care. Never let short-term tasks violate those protected hours, even if that means leaving someone waiting.

There are More Things Worth Doing Than Anyone Can Do

When deciding whether or not to take on a new task or project, ask yourself "Is this more worth doing than the thing I will have to give up to do it?" Anything you add means less time for something else. Consider what you'll be giving up and whether losing that will be worth it. You might wait 24 hours before saying "yes" to something new to give time for reflection.

Campus Culture Pushes Us in Many Directions

University culture pushes us to ask a lot of ourselves - as a student, employee, friend, intellectual, agent of change, and more. No one can give outstanding effort in so many directions at once. Focus on the aspects of life that are most important for you personally to give your all. 

Reach out for help if you need it.

There are many support structures at UNC-Chapel Hill to help you balance campus demands.

For students: advisors, learning center coacheswellbeing coachesCAPS, and more.

For employees: Work-Life Balance, Center for Faculty Excellence

Reach out for help if you need it. 

Adapted from Healthy Work Habits by Ada Palmer; Photo by Brad Javernick of Home Oomph

The second seminar in the Spring 2023 Mental Health Seminar Series, "How to Center Your Focus When Focusing is Difficult."

Do you find yourself struggling to concentrate and stay focused on tasks even when you really want to? This presentation explored the background of attention and focus as well as strategies that can help. Whether you're a student, faculty or staff looking to improve your productivity and focus, this presentation provided valuable insights and actionable steps to help you stay on track and achieve your goals, no matter what life throws your way.

The seminar was presented by Dr. Nicholas Fogleman, a child psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC School of Medicine. He also serves as the director of the UNC ADHD Program. Dr. Fogleman’s has received extensive training in assessment and intervention techniques for youth with ADHD, and his research examines the relationship between emotional and social functioning. Prior to becoming a child psychologist, Dr. Fogleman served as a sixth-grade science teacher in Warren County, North Carolina.

This Seminar took place by zoom on March 30th from 12 - 1:30 pm.

The Mental Health Seminar series is open to students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty, and staff. The series creates a space for learning, reflecting on, and discussing mental health. This year's seminars focus on research-to-practice, giving the audience both the science behind mental health and strategies they can employ right now. The overall goal is to empower all campus community members to help influence campus mental health and well-being. Join us!

The first Spring 2023 Mental Health Seminar, How to Foster Happiness: Cultivating Emotional Language and Pursuing Value-based Actions.

“Happiness” is as tremendous a feeling as it is elusive. David Obergfell, DSW, LCSW and Executive Director for Student Wellbeing and Violence Prevention dove into understanding the nature of happiness as a dynamic result of recognizing, honoring, and attending to our emotional states. In addition, we explored how to identify our values and how our actions promote well-being and happiness when aligned with our values.

The webinar took place by zoom on Wednesday, February 8th from noon-1:30 pm.

The Mental Health Seminar series is open to students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty, and staff. The series creates a space for learning, reflecting on, and discussing mental health. This year's seminars focus on research-to-practice, giving the audience both the science behind mental health and strategies they can employ right now. The overall goal is to empower all campus community members to help influence campus mental health and well-being. Join us!


Originally published The News & Observer | by KIMBERLY CATAUDELLA | Updated November 25, 2022 12:54 PM

Read more at:

Tough news locally and across the country this week has dampened a typically joyful beginning to the end-of-year holiday season.

If you’re spending time with loved ones and notice someone’s not doing well, what’s the best thing to say? How can our words and actions extend beyond the holiday gathering?

“For so many, this is the first holiday season that feels normal again, so expectations are super high. But holidays are never perfect, as much as we’d like them to be, so we should think about how to help ourselves and each other when we all eventually need it,” said Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., psychologist and professor at Duke University Medical Center.

The News & Observer talked with Gurwitch and Dr. Crystal Schiller, a clinical psychologist with the UNC Department of Psychiatry, to learn more about how to best handle these situations this holiday season.


Generally, you can identify signs of a mental health struggle by noticeable changes in someone’s behavior, which can include:

  • Withdrawing from social interactions, and not being as talkative.
  • Or the reverse, talking much more than they usually do.
  • Drinking much more alcohol than they normally do.
  • Eating much less or much more.

“When I see these things, I wouldn’t comment on the behavior itself, like ‘Oh, I see you’re not talking to anybody.’ But I’d instead start by asking some broad questions, like how are things going for you? How are you feeling today?” Schiller said.

“See what the person brings up, and if they’re open to a discussion, then you can ask some more follow-up questions and understand what this difficult time looks like for them.”

If they’re not receptive to a conversation, you shouldn’t push it more, she said: “There’s nothing worse than feeling really bad and having someone pry into your business. You can check in with them later.”


Here’s how Schiller suggests you help a loved one struggling over the holiday season:

  • Find a quiet place to talk: Don’t have this conversation at the holiday table. Find a moment of quiet and ask those broad “How are you doing today?” questions to see if your loved one is interested in a conversation.
  • Listen actively: Ask questions to paint a picture. If something difficult happened in your loved one’s life, you can ask appropriate questions to learn more about the hardship they’re facing.
  • Ask for an action step: Instead of saying “Is there anything I can do to help?” you can ask “What’s one thing I can do to support you?” Make sure you hear their request and follow through. If you’re not in a position to help them out, but you notice they’re struggling, you might talk with them to learn who else can be a source of support for them.
  • Reach out the next day: You should do this both if your loved one was open to talking, and if they weren’t. Let them know you’re thinking about them and were glad to spend time with them for the holidays. “We don’t always know the little moments that make a difference in someone’s life,” Gurwitch said. “Just knowing someone out there cares about them and was thinking about them in that moment.”


While we’re thinking about ways to help our loved ones having a difficult time this holiday season, we should take time to consider how we’re feeling and ways we can feel supported. Here are some ways Gurwitch recommends checking in with yourself ahead of these important days:

  • Know holidays are never perfect: “We’ve all seen holiday movies. We know people don’t get along, the food gets burned… that’s what makes us laugh. That’s the conflict of those movies we watch every year,” she said. “Set aside your expectations that the holiday will be perfect. It won’t.” By managing expectations ahead of time, you won’t feel disappointed or guilty when the holiday doesn’t go to perfect plan, or if you recognize in advance that the holidays will be tough for you this year.
  • Establish a trusted buddy: Take time before the holiday events to identify a trusted friend or family member you can reach out to if things get tough. It can be helpful to establish a check-in time — if dinner is scheduled for 4 p.m., maybe you can plan to text your trusted buddy at 6. “It doesn’t even have to be a phone call, or sending a long text with updates about the day. It can be sending one emoji to update with how you’re feeling. Or a number on a scale from 1 to 10. But if you need to talk by phone or FaceTime, make sure ahead of time that your friend will be around to help you out.”
  • Make space to grieve, but know experiencing holiday joy is also perfectly fine. “It’s OK to feel joy being together while also mourning. Both emotions can be there at the same time. Don’t feel guilty for having a nice time when you thought the holidays would be nothing but difficult,” she said. You can excuse yourself to a separate room or a walk around the block if you start to get overwhelmed.
  • Help someone else, if you’d like: Sometimes, if you’re feeling stressed or having feelings tough to manage, you can help yourself by helping someone else. You can offer to make something for the holiday gathering, or you can find an organization to volunteer with. If lending a helping hand is too overwhelming and you need some mental health resources to help you through your difficult time, that’s more than OK.


If a loved one is showing signs of a mental health issue or asking you for help, here’s how “For Friends and Family Members” guide suggests you can offer your support:

  • Are they getting help? Find out if the person is getting the care that they need or want. If not, connect them to resources for help.
  • Show compassion: Express your concern and support.
  • Help is available: Remind your loved one that help is available, and mental health problems can be treated.
  • Listen actively: Ask questions, listen to ideas and be responsive when the topic of mental health problems come up.
  • Tell them you care: Reassure your loved one that you care about them.
  • Lend a hand: Offer to help your loved one with everyday tasks.
  • Extend an invite: Include your loved one in your plans. Continue to invite them without being overbearing, even if they resist your invitations.
  • Talk about mental health openly: Educate other people so they understand mental health issues and treat those struggling with dignity and compassion.
  • Be respectful: Treat people with mental health problems with respect, compassion and empathy.


If you need help starting a conversation about mental health challenges, you can try these leading questions from’s “For Friends and Family Members” guide. Make sure you actively listen to your loved one’s responses.

  • I’ve been worried about you. Can we talk about what you are experiencing? If not, who are you comfortable talking to?
  • What can I do to help you to talk about issues with your parents, or someone else who is responsible and cares about you?
  • What else can I help you with?
  • I am someone who cares and wants to listen. What do you want me to know about how you are feeling?
  • Who or what has helped you deal with similar issues in the past?
  • Sometimes talking to someone who has dealt with a similar experience helps. Do you know of others who have experienced these types of problems who you can talk with?
  • It seems like you are going through a difficult time. How can I help you to find help?
  • How can I help you find more information about mental health problems?
  • I’m concerned about your safety. Have you thought about harming yourself or others?

When talking about mental health problems:

  • Know how to connect people to help.
  • Communicate in a straightforward manner.
  • Speak at a level appropriate to a person’s age and development level.
  • Discuss the topic when and where the person feels safe and comfortable.
  • Watch for reactions during the discussion and slow down or back up if the person becomes confused or looks upset. has a long list of resources available for anyone in need. They have guides for parents, family members, children and more hoping to open conversations about mental health. Find those guides at


Mental health resources — especially amid the pandemic, and even more so as we approach the holiday season — have been limited. The N&O previously put together a list for anyone who needs help.

Find resources for immediate help and specific groups for people in and around the Triangle at

Photo by Taylor Nock | The Daily Tar Heel

Originally Posted on The Daily Tar Heel | By Celia Funderburk | January 23, 2023 | 6:02pm EST

Carolyn Ebeling will be joining the Hussman School of Journalism and Media as an embedded counselor specifically for students' mental health needs, as of Jan. 16.

The new counselor position was added through UNC's Counseling and Psychological Services, which serves the mental health needs of the University’s students. Both graduate and undergraduate students at Hussman will have access to this new mental health resource.

Ebeling said there are many services that they will be able to provide for the students. 

“I'll be providing individual brief therapy, referral services to off campus therapists — when that's necessary and appropriate — and I can connect them to Campus Health, if they're requesting medication management,” Ebeling said. “I can also give all kinds of wellness and mental health resources both at UNC and in the community.” 

Ebeling will be able to support students in the journalism school in a way that the other faculty members have not been equipped to manage. Charlie Tuggle, senior associate dean for undergraduate studies, said he is only able to help students so much. 

“You guys get stressed about grades and all those things, and they have to come see somebody, and I do what I can, but I'm not a trained counselor,” he said. 

Tuggle said that, when emotional issues arise, he and others at the school will now be able to refer students to a trained professional. Ebeling said they feel prepared for this referral process and providing different types of support.

“I would say, personal challenges, academic challenges or something that comes up during the semester like relationship stuff,” they said. “I have been doing a lot of work with the LGBTQ community, family relationships, really anything that comes up in their lives that they feel like they need a resource to just come talk about.” 

After the worst of the pandemic, there was a rise in mental health challenges experienced by students. Tuggle said he wants the school to be equipped to manage this issue. He said an experienced and prepared counselor is one way to help Hussman students. 

Skye Scoggins, a sophomore at UNC, has been a student of the Hussman school since last fall. She said the staff and faculty create a welcoming and helpful environment.  

“In the media school, as far as mental health goes, professors have been so accommodating through the stressful times that have occurred,” she said. “They would push dates or if you needed help on anything, they would be very accommodating.”

Scoggins has friends who have directly gone to professors for help when they were struggling, and their situations have always been understood. 

One benefit to having an embedded counselor for just Hussman students is the location, Tuggle said. 

“You don't have to go across campus, you can make an appointment with somebody right in the building and that's a bit more convenient,” he said. “You don't have to go through the layers of CAPS to get to somebody, there's someone right there for you, so I think those things will be helpful.”

Ebeling said working directly in Carroll Hall will also allow them to understand the environment and situations experienced by the students. 

“It’s really nice to have someone who can understand the culture of the school and kind of some specific issues or challenges that are coming up specifically around the Hussman community,” they said. 

As an alum of The Daily Tar Heel, Ebeling feels they will be able to understand issues specific to a journalism setting. And as a counselor, Ebeling wants to create an environment that is welcoming and non-judgmental for all students. 

“I really want to create an environment where people feel safe and just to reduce the stigma around reaching out for mental health support," they said. "And of course, I'll be working with students, and I welcome students from all types of backgrounds and identities."

Scoggins said this development of an embedded counselor in Hussman shows the efforts of the school to destigmatize conversations of mental health. 

“Mental health was so stigmatized, and it definitely still is, but not to the extent that it used to be and I think the University and everyone wants to help address that stereotype and reverse it,” she said. “They make people feel like it's okay to have mental health issues and that you can go forward, you can get help.”

Ebeling said the easiest way to set up a meeting with them is to email For additional mental health resources, check out additional DTH reporting

On September 14, from 12pm-3pm, the Heels Care Network held a Mental Health Colloquium and subsequently will be hosting a Mental Health Seminar Series. Information about these events are below.

An afternoon of expert talks and engaging breakout sessions built upon the discussion and suggestions from last semester's Mental Health Summit and kicked off our fall semester series of mental health seminars. This colloquium moved us from theory to practice, centering discussion on three topics:

  • Practicing Cultural Awareness and Humility: presented by Leah Cox, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Trauma-Informed Engagement in the Community: presented by April Parker, Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work
  • Mental Health and Identity: featured breakout sessions focused on Mental Health in Latinx Communities, Asian Communities, Black Communities, American Indian Communities and LGBTIQ Communities

Breakout Sessions included:

  • Mental Health in Latinx Communities – Facilitated by Theresa Flores, MSW, LCSW  
  • Mental Health in Asian Communities – Facilitated by Misha Mohan, Psy.D. 
  • Mental Health in Black Communities – Facilitated by Sophia Davis, MSW, LCSW and Faye Hobgood, MSW, LCSW 
  • Mental Health in American Indian Communities – Facilitated by Alicia Freeman, LCMHC, LCAS-A 
  • Mental Health in LGTBIQ Communities – Facilitated by Terri Phoenix, PhD 
  • Mental Health and People with Disabilities – Facilitated by Simon Bloor, MAEd, PGDip, PGCert

Heels Care Mental Health Seminar Series

It's Ok to Pause

It’s Ok to Pause - Facilitated by Crystal Schiller, PhD 

The research behind and practice of mindful pauses

Tuesday, October 11th, noon – 1:30 pm  

Register for the Zoom link

Understanding Emotions and How to Talk About Them

Understanding Emotions and How to Talk About Them - Facilitated by Rachel Rifkin, LCSW

The science of feelings and strategies to explore and communicate about them.

Wednesday, November 16th, noon – 1:30 pm  

Register for the Zoom link

Everyone has a story to share if we are willing to listen. No More Lonely Tar Heels will offer an unforgettable evening of community, creativity, and connection. On Thursday, March 30 from 4- 7 pm in the quad, join Healthy Heels, Morrison Art Studio, Arts Everywhere, and loads of friendly Carolina students for painting, smoothies, and meeting new people. Together we can make Carolina a more connected and caring place. Be a part of the mission of No More Lonely Tar Heels.

Whether you're looking to make new friends, meet people with similar interests, or simply have a good time - No More Lonely Tar Heels is for ALL students at UNC-CH.  

If you're coming alone, no worries! C'mon by at 4 pm to meet others - this is a great chance to meet new friends. Join the fun at 5 pm if you are rolling in with a group.

See you there!

LSN Peer Chat