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Emergency Resources

 National Suicide

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Chapel Hill Domestic
Violence Hotline

Call 919-929-7122


More numbers you can call to talk to a counselor (external to UNC)

SOM Well-Being Liaison

Sarah Schoenrock, PhD
Sarah Schoenrock, PhD
Assistant Professor & Assistant Director of Research

I serve as the Well-Being Liaison for the department in the School of Medicine (SOM). This role is supported by the SOM Office of Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development (

In this role, my goal is to work with the Department and others in the SOM to support a learning, training, and working environment in which members of our community thrive.

In this position, I serve on the SOM Well-being Committee, and I have several duties:

  • Staying well-informed of ongoing wellness-related programming and resources available, and serving as a point of contact to connect colleagues to resources as needed.
  • Participating in trainings to enhance skills and knowledge necessary to serve as an effective liaison.
  • Coordinating with key stakeholders to contribute to ongoing maintenance and relevance of well-being resources and to ensure that community needs are being met.
  • Working with our Department’s Diversity Liaison, to support a more inclusive culture.
  • Supporting the Chair with wellness-related activities

Well-Being Office Hours:

I will also be available for well-being office hours if you want to help connecting to the right resources. My well-being office hours can be set up by a quick email (, call or text (972-369-6337). I am on campus M/W/F (Office: GMB 5017) and available by Zoom on T/Th.

Upcoming Well-Being Events and Trainings at UNC



Mental Health First Aid Training

If someone is suffering a heart attack or other medical emergency, you offer first aid (and call 911!). What do you do if someone is experiencing a mental health crisis or is developing a mental health problem?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an eight-hour training program designed to help you develop basic skills to help someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, respond to substance use disorders, and identify professional resources that can provide additional care. The MHFA workshop is available as a single full-day session or as two half-day sessions. Through funding from SAMHSA’s Garret Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Program, UNC School of Social Work is able to offer MHFA workshops at no charge to UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff, and students.

Register online for upcoming MHFA workshops. You can also organize a MHFA workshop specifically for your UNC-Chapel Hill school, department, or unit.



Haven Training

  HAVEN (Helping Advocates for Violence Ending Now)Training:

HAVEN (Helping Advocates for Violence Ending Now) is a collaboration between the Equal Opportunity & Compliance Office, the Carolina Women’s Center, the Office of the Dean of Students, and Student Wellness. It provides students, faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows with tools to be an ally to someone who has experienced sexual or interpersonal (relationship) violence or stalking. The three-hour training emphasizes the importance of listening, responding compassionately, and connecting survivors to resources on campus and in the community.

Register online for upcoming HAVEN Training Workshops.


Mental Health Resources

We believe scientists must prioritize mental health and wellbeing in order to be successful. The Department of Genetics recognizes and understands that graduate school can bring increased pressure and stress that can be difficult to navigate. Students, faculty, and staff should be aware that we care deeply for everyone in our Genetics family and are actively working to promote a healthy environment. With this, the following is a list of UNC-based resources you might wish to explore:

Services/Offices at UNC



the words "Heels Care Network"

  • HEELS Care Network:
    • The Heels Care Network is a gateway for mental health and wellness resources for everyone on campus: to find a support group, learn strategies for mental health, connect with training and advocacy organizations, or find wellness events on campus. The Heels Care Network also includes support resources for community members who are not doing well and are seeking immediate help.
UNC Counseling and Psychological Services logo. Links to
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS):
    • Please note: During remote learning due to COVID-19 Counseling and Psychological Services is open and making appointments via Zoom. The information below is from prior to COVID-19 remote learning.  Please visit the website or call and check for updated information. 
    • First time visits do not need to schedule an appointment and can simply walk in to CAPS during the following days and times:
      • Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
      • Friday 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 1:00-4:00 p.m.
      • Urgent Needs: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
    • CAPS is located in the James A. Taylor Building on the 3rd floor. This building is between Kenan Stadium and the Hospitals, off of Emergency Room Drive. For specific directions from multiple campus locations, see this website:
      • If you know someone in need of CAPS, it is helpful to walk with them to this office. This will not only ensure they reach their destination, but can also help reduce any potential anxiety they may have.
    • Initial assessments, brief therapy (if warranted by initial assessment), group therapy, referral management, academic intervention are covered by the health fee and available with no out of pocket cost to eligible students, post-doctoral fellows and partners.


Logo for the Student Wellness Coaches for School of Medicine students program. Links to

  • Student Wellness Coaches for School of Medicine students:
    • Allison (Alli) Schad, Director of Wellness for UNC School of Medicine and Student Wellness Coach
      • Alli is a licensed social worker and provides one-on-one counseling to PhD students at the School of Medicine.
      • You can schedule an appointment with Alli on the student wellness website.
      • Alli also monitors the wellness of biomedical PhD students and leads Wellness Programming for BBSP students.


UNC Healthy Heels logo. Links to
    • UNC Healthy Heels:
      • Healthy Heels provides a variety of useful information to keep healthy created by Campus Health, Student Wellness, Counseling and Psychological Services & Campus Rec. including:
        • Links to helpful articles and campus resources including during COVID-19
        • A blog listing weekly healthy virtual happenings you can join in on with topics such as:
          • Self Care Strategies When the News is Difficult
          • free COVID-19 testing events
          • cardio workouts, mental challenge games, meditation sessions, intramural fantasy football, rocket league, 1 on 1 training sessions, lots of fitness classes, safe biking around UNC
          • global grads, diversity and inclusion, racism and medicine, resumes that standout
        • Sign up to follow the blog with your email


Logo for UNC Graduate School's Diversity and Student Success Program - with info on diversity and community initiatives at UNC. The link goes to the program website at


UNC The Graduate School logo. Links to the Graduate School Orientation website:



Logo afor the UNC Student Affairs Office of the Dean of Students. Links to
  • Office of the Dean of Students:
    • The Office of the Dean of Students is committed to providing essential education, programs and services to support students’ academic, personal and professional development.  Our staff works with faculty, staff, and students across campus, as well as with parents, town leaders and community members to reach this goal,


Logo for the University Ombuds Office. LInks to

  • University Ombuds Office:
    • The University Ombuds Office is a safe place where all Carolina staff, faculty, students and administrators are welcome to come and talk in confidence about any campus issue, problem, or dispute. Our office supplements, but does not replace, the University’s formal channels, such as the grievance policy. Contact us as a first step, or as a last resort, or anywhere along the way. Come and share your concerns, evaluate your situation, and plan your next step—if you want to take a next step. Use of our services is voluntary and free. Visitors will find our office a safe place to discuss their concerns, no matter how large or small.
    • Ombuds Brochure


Logo for the Safe at UNC program. Links to

  • Safe at UNC:
    • This website is the main portal for students, faculty, staff, and visitors at UNC- Chapel Hill to obtain information about prevention and help regarding issues of discrimination, harassment, sexual assault or sexual violence, interpersonal violence, and stalking.


Logo for the UNC Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office. Links to

  • Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office:
    • At Carolina, every member of our campus community is entitled to live, learn, and work in an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. If ever you find that certain events or experiences have unfairly affected your academic or professional success, we’re here to help.


Logo for the UNC Accessibility Resources and Services (ARS). Links to

  • Accessibility Resources and Services (ARS):
    • Through ARS, The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill seeks to meet the individual needs of applicants and current students with disabilities and medical conditions by coordinating and implementing appropriate accommodations and providing resources and services as they relate to academics, residences, dining and co and extra-curricular campus activities.
    • ARS also functions as a source of information, educational outreach and advice, as well as a communication link among individuals with disabilities, faculty and staff, outside agencies, and the community at large.


Logo for the UNC Student Wellness program. Links to

  • Student Wellness:
    • Student Wellness is a health education and health promotion office whose work is rooted in Public Health science, with a focus on environmental change strategies.


Logo for the UNC Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Links to

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (Available to permanent UNC employees and their dependents, including postdocs):
    • From financial pressures to workplace stress and family issues, life can be challenging. If you need help, the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available. The EAP is a confidential counseling and resource program that is designed to help University employees and their families deal with both personal and work-related concerns.
    • Trained counselors are available by phone 24 hours a days, seven days a week through the University’s EAP offered by ComPsych. You or your family members may call the EAP at anytime. Call ComPsych toll-free 24 hours a day at 877-314-5841.
    • You can also visit their online resources at
      • At the home page, click “I am a first-time user”
      • At the top of the next page, enter the Organization Web ID TARHEELS and complete the remainder of the boxes with your desired username and password and other requested information
      • On subsequent visits, use the username and password you established on your first visit to access resources

Mental Health & Wellness During Covid

A picture of two beakers with circles labeled with factors that affect our well being represented as circles that are contained in one beaker and overflowing in the other which has an additional large circle with spikes labeled Covid-19 inside the beaker. Another circle labeled loss is bubbling up outside the beaker. The link opens the pdf.

  • Bubbling Over? Mental Health During Covid-19
    • As the global pandemic takes hold, for many of us our mental health has been impacted. This poster visualizes mental health during this period to help us make sense of what we may be feeling.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • Using the analogy of a beaker, the poster shows how factors that influence our wellbeing such as depression, anxiety, physical health, pre-existing conditions and financial concerns that are usually kept under control during normal times may overflow due to changes caused by Covid-19.
    • Tips for how to manage your mental health during Covid-19 include: speak to a professional, focus on what you can control, make time for exercise, create a schedule, communicate with others, productivity comes second, learn something new, let go of the guilt.


This pdf describes different things to do if you are a PhD researcher without a lab during COVID-19. The link opens the pdf.

  • A Scientist Without A Lab?  A PhD Researcher Guide to Covid-19
    • In these unprecedented times many of us are finding ourselves without the ability to perform lab work and are having to self-isolate. This poster explores some of the options for PhD researchers in this uncertain period to help alleviate pressure, guide productivity and maintain mental wellness.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • Things to do described on the aposter: write your thesis intro, build your experimental techniques, make beautiful figures, learn to code, create test plans, work on papers, connect with colleagues, create a schedule, let go of guilt, and take time for you.


Mental Health & Wellness During PhD and After

For Graduate Students
A beaker overflowing iwth bubbles due to a toxic mix is surrounded by ten common stressors that PhD students may be exposed to during their PhD. The link opens the pdf.

  • The Toxic Mix During Your PhD:
    • The stressors & the strains…what might make management of your mental health more difficult.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • Common stressors discussed on the poster include: imposter syndrome, first time failing, financial concerns, competitive landscape, presennteeism, papers please, tough relationships, isolation/guilt, no more tick boxes, and of acceptance.



This poster includes information on what you may be feeling or experiencing during your PhD, as well as warning signs to look for in those around you who may be struggling, and tips for managing mental health and wellbeing. The link opens the pdf.

  • Mental Health During Your PhD:
    • What you might experience or feel.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • This poster discusses what you may be experiencing/feeling which can include: imposter syndrome, no more tick boxes, first time failing, isolation/guilt, competitive landscape, the work/life struggle.
    • It also includes warning signs to be aware of in those around you who may be struggling which include: increased drinking, increased or decreased eating, working long hours, being absent, joking about suicide, and looking disheveled.
    • It also includes some ways to manage your mental health and wellbeing such as: seek medical advice, take some time out, focus on you, request counseling, talk to your supervisor, talk to your peers/postdocs, create manageable chunks, and read literature.



The poster includes for how to manage your mental health during Covid-19. The link opens the pdf.


  • Some Mental Health Tips During Your PhD:
    • Some ways to help manage your mental health and wellness.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • The poster’s eight tips for how to manage your mental health during Covid-19 include: seek medical help, talk to your supervisor, talk to your peers/postdocs,  focus on you, create manageable chunks, request counseling, read literature.



This poster discusses Imposter Syndrome and what we can do about it. The link opens the pdf.

  • Shining a Spotlight on Imposter Syndrome:
    • What we can do, what our peers can do to support, the role the PI plays, and what universities can do to support.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • This poster discusses imposter syndrome and what we can do about it.  Imposter syndrome is ‘intense feelings of self-doubt’, making a person feel like a fraud These feelings can often reach boiling point during a PhD. Things we can do about it include: how to deal with it on a personal level, peer support, role of the PI and the institituion.


For Postdocs
A cartoon picture of a tall mountain with a person climbing it toward a sign saying "Prof" with a dark cloud over them, surrounded by eleven common stressors postdocs experience in their climb for academic excellence. The link poster the poster.

  • The Perils of a Postdoc:
    • A foray into the fact that mental health issues do not stop at the PhD level. The strains and stressors continue into the postdoc environment as well.
      Open poster
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • Common stressors included on the poster are: compete or perish, family commitments, idea generation, need for independence, position instability, teaching experience, global challenges, altac sell-out, a star is born, burnout or drop out, and don’t get stuck.



For Undergraduates
A picture of a graduation cap surrounded by nine stressors students face during their studies. The link opens the pdf.

  • Undergraduate Health Awareness:
    • With approximately 1 in 4 undergraduates experiencing health concerns, this poster explores some of the stressors students face during their university studies.
      Open poster
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • Common stressors students experience during their studies can include: financial concerns, away from home, little fish in a big pond, exam stress, grade panic, living with others, fear of missing out, isolation and job prospects.
    • it also includes signs that others around you are struglling, which can include: being absent, slipping grades, social withdrawal, disheveled appearance, poor sleep patterns, increased irritability, changes in appetite and increased drinking.
    • Among things students can do are: seek medical advice, reach out for help, focus on you, seeing others in distree.
    • Among things institutions can do are: signpost resources so students know what help is availble, see students fast, train staff and create links, and manage the transition.



For Institutions
A green circle with silhouettes of university buildings on top surrounded by nine things universities can do to improve graduate mental health. The link opens the pdf.

  • The Institution Edit:
    • What can universities do to improve graduate mental health? What are the active steps to make mental health better for PhD students? The narrative that it’s the students’ problem and their problem only is wrong and misleading.
      Open pdf
      (Our thanks to Dr. Zoë Ayres, @ZJAyres, who developed and shared this poster.)
    • The poster explores things universities can do to improve graduates’ mental health, which include: train the trainer, tailor support, be accountable, diversity, dignity and respect, work/life balance, provide skills, create a community, and reimburse quickly.

Student Groups/Organizations

Logo for the UNC PhD Balance Organization. Links to
  • PhD Balance:
    • This organization was founded by current Microbiology and Immunology student, Susanna Harris.
    • You can be productive in academia, work on and complete a graduate degree, AND struggle with your mental health. Our mission at PhD Balance is to provide honest stories from people like you and curate resources with advice about strategies, yoga, mindfulness, and more.


Logo for Carolina Recovery Program. Links to
  • Carolina Recovery Program:
    • To encourage a community that supports continued recovery, academic excellence, and a commitment to serving the greater UNC community. The Carolina Recovery Program provides each student a customized success plan, staff and peer support, and proactive recovery focused programming. Their goal is to enable students to enjoy a normal substance-free collegiate experience while excelling at UNC-CH. They believe this recovery program experience will reconnect emerging leaders with their passion to make a difference in the world.
This is an image of the Stigma Free Carolina program icon.
  • Stigma Free Carolina:
    • Stigma Free Carolina is a UNC community campaign aimed at reducing stigma toward mental health concerns and treatment. By accurately defining mental health, educating the community, and dispelling negative or false beliefs about mental health and its treatment we can help everyone be their best selves and reach their full potential.

Additional Resources