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The Holistic Path to Recovery

Fall (September-December) 2023 Activity Schedule

This is a current schedule of weekly group-based activities focused around promoting overall health and well-being for adults living with serious mental health conditions who are served by the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. Please let us know if you’d like to try out or sign up for a group. Some groups have a waitlist. If a group is currently full, we will let you know when a spot opens up.

Most groups are located in-person at the UNC Farm at Penny Lane (263 Penny Lane, Pittsboro, NC 27312). A couple of groups also have a virtual or hybrid option. A shuttle is available from Carr Mill STEP but please reach out to schedule. The shuttle is a small blue bus that picks up at the outdoor pavilion in between CVS and Carr Mill Mall. The shuttle departs 30 minutes before the group starts and returns within 30 minutes after the group ends. When signing up for groups, please note if you will need the shuttle and we will try to make it available.

For questions or to signup, please contact Matt Ballard, Farm Program Manager,, 919-966-0933 (office) OR 919-533-9397 (cell). You can also request UNC staff/clinician send a referral to Matthew Ballard through Epic In Basket.

10:00am – 12:00pm | Therapeutic Horticulture
3:00pm – 4:00pm | Emotional Resiliency Skills (VIRTUAL)
3:00pm – 5:00pm | Community Volunteer Workday

10:30am – 12:00pm | Brushes with Life (VIRTUAL)
11:00am – 12:30pm | Equine Therapy (off-site in Chapel Hill location)
11:00am – 12:15pm | Mindfulness & Self-Compassion (HYBRID)*
12:30pm – 1:30pm | Communal Lunch with Food/Mood*
1:45pm – 3:00pm | Moving through Life Social Skills*

*These specific groups will be offered from September 26 through November 14.

This fall we will offer two options during the same time and you are welcome to switch groups from week-to-week.

Offerings A
11:00am – 12:00pm | Yoga & Breathing
12:00pm – 1:30pm | Healthy Cooking
1:30pm – 2:00pm | Communal Lunch
2:00pm – 3:00pm | Music Over Mind

Offerings B
11:00am – 12:00pm | Bridging Body & Nature
12:00pm – 1:30pm | Brushes with Life
1:30pm – 2:00pm | Communal Lunch
2:00pm – 3:00pm | Creative Writing

11:00am – 12:00pm | Yoga & Breathing*
12:00pm – 2:00pm | Healthy Cooking & Communal Lunch*
2:00pm – 3:00pm | Music Over Mind*
3:00pm – 4:30pm | “Dig In” Farm Crew
6:00pm – 7:00pm | Mindfulness Book Study (VIRTUAL)

*A shuttle is available from Wake Encompass, ACTT and STEP’s Whitaker Mill office for these specific 11am-3pm groups for September 7 through November 16. No Carr Mill shuttle is available for these groups. Please call Matt Ballard or talk to your Wake staff/clinician to schedule a seat.

10:00am – 12:00pm | Community Volunteer Workday
12:00pm – 1:00pm | PAWS*
1:00pm – 2:30pm | Brushes with Life
2:30pm  – 4:00pm | Creative Writing

* Please contact us for a week-to-week schedule for the PAWS group as it will meet for 4-to-6 weeks at a time.

Bridging Body & Nature
This group offers guided activities to help participants reconnect to their bodies through presence in nature. We will use activities inspired by plant-based and nature-embodied movement to help individuals recognize their bodies as part of and connected to the natural world.

Brushes with Life (In-person or Virtual)
This group provides visual and expressive arts activities where participants can select from a wide range of mediums to express their thoughts and feelings. All skill levels are encouraged.

Creative Writing
This group aims to deepen personal vocabularies of presence, observation, and joy to become both more comfortable and more intentional in the ways we communicate with ourselves and others in the process of recovery.

Community Volunteer Workday
We meet as a community to tend the farm. The focus is on garden projects with all community members invited.

“Dig In” Farm Crew
This group focuses on learning seasonal gardening skills in a supportive environment and to give back by helping grow food for people impacted by mental illness. No green thumb is required, only an interest and regular commitment to learning basic gardening skills.

Equine Therapy
Learn healthy connection and communication from horses, the ultimate teachers. They have a unique ability to physiologically reduce symptoms, foster honesty and increase overall resilience.

Emotional Resiliency Skills (Virtual Only)
This group provides a way to check in weekly with others and focuses on supporting each other through symptom management skills and recovery strategies. Time is also offered each week for brief group processing or problem-solving.

Food and Mood
This group explores how food can influence how we feel about ourselves and help our symptoms. Topics include: healthy menus & budgeting strategies, food journaling, body image and the brain-gut axis. A free  farm lunch is offered during the group.

Healthy Cooking & Lunch
This group focuses on healthy and delicious cooking instruction on a limited budget with seasonal produce. We cook alongside each other and socialize with each other. All skill levels are encouraged.

Mindfulness & Self-Compassion (In-person or Virtual)
Learn and practice self-compassion techniques that are kind to yourself, help to ground yourself and recognize feelings, with the overall goal to decrease self judgment.

Mindfulness Book Study (Virtual Only)
Join an online support group for engaging ideas, expanding emotional and spiritual growth, and become aware of the many dimensions of healing through inner exploration.

Moving Through Life Social Skills
Learn and practice social skills in an encouraging and low-pressure environment with the help of light movement. We’ll work alongside each other through negative symptoms around relationships and social situations and the emotions or thoughts that come up.

Music Over Mind
This group provides participants with the creative space to play an instrument, sing, and read poetry or prose to connect with yourself and each other. All skill levels are encouraged.

This group promotes healing and well-being through human-dog interaction. We teach skills, habits and methods of communication that all species can carry with them. Participants don’t need to be dog-owners to participate.

Therapeutic Horticulture
This group provides weekly plant-based activities in and around the garden to help lower anxiety, boost your mood and encourage physical activity and regular outdoor time. Participants often go home with produce for the week. No green thumb is required!

Yoga & Breathing
This group focuses on using yoga to promote wellness and connect the mind and body. Sessions may include gentle stretching and twisting, breathing techniques and guided imagery. The instructor emphasizes listening to your body and feeling empowered.