World Mental Health Day 2022

Howard Center’s third annual World Mental Health Day (WMHD) speaker event, featuring Dr. Alice Chen and Ferene Paris Mayer. WMHD is on October 10 and is an opportunity for community education and engagement to reduce stigma, raise awareness, and to connect to the global movement to ensure our communities have access to mental health supports when they are needed. This year’s speaker event focused on occupational burnout. Burnout within the healthcare workforce and the wider society was all too common even before the arrival of COVID-19.

With the pandemic came enormous changes in workplaces across the economy including our schools, hospitals, social service agencies, offices, retail stores, and everywhere else people come together to get things done. Increased workloads, lack of work-life balance, concerns about getting sick, economic stress, and general uncertainty all contributed to even more widespread burnout. Recent surveys show that more than half of American workers report symptoms of burnout. Dr. Chen drew on her years of experience and expertise to discuss the causes of burnout, particularly those present in healthcare and social services settings; symptoms to be most aware of, including physical and mental symptoms; and strategies for addressing burnout in all facets of life, including the workplace.

Alice T. Chen, MD is a board-certified internal medicine physician and a national leader in physician advocacy, community organizing, and public health. She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and went on to attend medical school at Weill Cornell Medical College. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Chen became an internal medicine hospitalist and faculty member first at UCLA and then at George Washington University in Washington, DC, training hundreds of residents and medical students as they cared for thousands of patients. In 2009, she helped found and ultimately became the Executive Director of Doctors for America, a grassroots organization of thousands of physicians and medical students who advocate for policies to improve the lives of their patients.

In 2021, Dr. Chen became Senior Advisor to Made to Save, providing strategic and public health leadership to a national COVID-19 vaccine public outreach and equity campaign. She has spoken and written extensively on topics including health care reform, physician advocacy, climate change, our national COVID-19 response, and the importance of social connection. Dr. Chen currently serves on boards and advisory groups for several organizations focused on climate change, health equity, and grassroots organizing. She lives with her husband, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and their two children in Washington DC. Ferene Paris Meyer, storyteller and founder of All Heart Inspirations, creates heart-centered spaces through workshops, community engagements, culinary cuisine, and more.

Through the art of storytelling, Ferene Paris Meyer empowers those navigating mental health to be their authentic selves. Storytelling has been transformational in Ferene’s healing with anxiety and depression. This session will infuse heartfelt shares as a catalyst for awakening a fire within us to heal and transform.

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