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Dr. Susan Gaylord Dr. Susan Gaylord

The Program on Integrative Medicine (PIM) in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine has been awarded $109,998 to evaluate the feasibility of implementing two evidence-based mindfulness programs, in partnership with Southeast Raleigh Assembly (SERA), to reduce violence, improve academic performance and promote positive mental health for youth and caregivers in Southeast Raleigh.

The project’s purpose is to evaluate the feasibility of implementing two evidence-based programs to improve positive mental health outcomes in Southeast Raleigh youth: a mindfulness training course, Learning to Breathe (L2B) for youth, as well as a companion Mindful Self-Compassion program for their adult caregivers including parents/guardians, SERA staff, and community stakeholders.

“We’re very excited about being able to undertake this planning grant to assess the feasibility of these programs,” said Susan Gaylord, PhD, director of PIM. “We’re providing the research component along with our expertise in mindfulness and mindful self-compassion. We hope the programs will improve teens’ mental health outcomes.”

Gaylord noted that significant deficits exist in positive mental health among Wake County youth. For example, 29% of Wake County high school students reported hopelessness and 17% have considered suicide.

The Program on Integrative Medicine integrates effective complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies into health-care practice in North Carolina and beyond by promoting research, education, and community collaboration, to improve health outcomes. Access to evidenced-based CAM approaches for diverse, underserved populations is key to PIM’s mission. At the same time, SERA Inc. is committed to transforming the way young people in Southeast Raleigh see their potential, and assisting them in developing a positive mental health status. SERA’s youth clients report struggles to avoid violent behaviors, and desire to learn how to reduce their stress levels, build self-esteem, enhance their ability to positively communicate at school, home and with peers, as well as to improve their abilities academically.

The John Rex Endowment announced the approval of $824,106 in funding for five grants on January 8th, given to organizations that support the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children. Recipients include Natural Learning Initiative of the College of Design at NC State University, Salvation Army of Wake County, the Program on Integrative Medicine within the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, Advocates for Health in Action and PLM Families Together.

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