EMERALD: proactive mental health care - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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EMERALD: proactive mental health care

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Prevention is better than cure. This is true not only for physical health, but also mental health, and it’s never been more important.

EMERALD is an evidence-driven program for people experiencing early signs that their mental health needs proactive attention.

This could be due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic or other life changes that have left you feeling ‘not quite yourself’.

Through personalised coaching and learning modules, our expert practitioners will help you regain your wellbeing early, before longer-term problems develop.

Mental wellness puts you in a strong position to participate in life’s pleasures and face life’s challenges. EMERALD will teach you strategies to nurture it for life.

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Have you noticed changes in your mental wellbeing? This may include days on which you:

  • Feel down or gloomy; worried or stressed; or lonely
  • Feel ‘not quite yourself’ in your mood, reactions or behaviours
  • Have less interest and pleasure in doing things
  • Have trouble sleeping, or sleep too much
  • Feel nervous or less able to relax than usual

If yes, you might be experiencing emerging signs of anxiety, depression or loneliness.

Program aims:

  • You have the confidence to identify areas of your mental health that need attention, set realistic self-care goals and implement strategies to meet those goals
  • You are empowered to manage emerging signs of anxiety, depression and loneliness, before they become a bigger problem
  • You have knowledge and strategies you can use for life to better support your mental wellbeing
  • Through improved wellbeing you have greater confidence and motivation to participate in life’s pleasures and resilience to deal with life’s challenges

People with emerging signs of anxiety and depression are at a greater risk of developing a more severe or long-term mental health condition.

Managing early signs of mental health decline are therefore vital for prevention and improvement of wellbeing – in fact, it’s never been more important.

Without action, it is predicted that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in significant increases to mental ill-health. This includes in people who have never experienced anxiety or depression before.

EMERALD’s evidence-based proactive approach to mental health care is therefore needed and is what sets it apart from many other mental health programs.

For you, this program is important because it supports you to address early declines in your mental wellbeing, so you can avoid those symptoms getting worse and put in place healthy habits to support your wellbeing for life.

What EMERALD offers

EMERALD is an eight-week program offering one-on-one support and online learning.

When you start EMERALD you’ll meet your new health coach, who'll be alongside you throughout the program.

In fortnightly telehealth appointments, your health coach will seek to: 

  • Understand what you are experiencing
  • Discuss evidence-based strategies that could assist
  • Check your progress and offer support and guidance

You will together set goals to work towards over the eight-week program. With these goals in mind, your health coach will assign you:

Self-guided teaching modules

We'll explain evidence-driven mental health strategies and why they are effective. Modules include:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Understanding mental health
  • Anxiety management
  • Mindfulness
  • Social connectedness

The modules are delivered online in a user-friendly format.

Appointments with an allied health practitioner

You'll have access to up to four appointments with a dietitian, psychologist or exercise physiologist, depending on the goals you set.

Webinars and/or live groups sessions

Extend your learning further with webinars and/or online group sessions on healthy lifestyle topics, such as exercise and sleep.

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Who EMERALD is for

EMERALD is an eight-week program for people who:

  • are experiencing emerging signs of anxiety, depression or loneliness
  • have not received support from a mental health practitioner (counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist) in the past two years
  • have not taken prescribed medication for a mental health condition in the past two years.

It is offered free of charge to Be (ComLink) clients and Queenslanders.

Reasons for eligibility

The program aims to reach people who are unsupported in managing early signs that their mental health needs attention.

It is not suitable for people with a current mental health condition, who need a more intense, targeted approach. If you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety and depression that are heavily impacting your ability to function, EMERALD will not adequately meet your needs, so we encourage you to seek a mental health review with your GP.

Your commitment

EMERALD gives you free-of-charge access to evidence-driven education and caring expert practitioners.

In return, we ask you to make a commitment to yourself to prioritise your wellbeing over the eight-week program (and preferably beyond!).

This means dedicating three hours per week to your appointments, learning modules and group sessions, plus extra time to implement the strategies you have learned.

How to take part

EMERALD is free of charge for Be (ComLink) clients and Queenslanders, thanks to Federal and State funding.

To take part:

  • Check you meet the eligibility criteria (see 'Who Emerald is for')
  • Commit to at least three hours per week for eight weeks to your appointments and learning modules
  • Register your interest

Who we are

EMERALD is developed and delivered by experts at USC’s Thompson Institute, a world-class hub for mental health and neuroscience research, teaching and clinical services.

We’re a caring, professional team dedicated to using the latest science to improve mental health in individuals and communities.

To learn more about EMERALD email us or call us on Tel: 5430 1191

Monique Jones

Monique Jones
Mental Health Nurse

For more than 20 years, Monique has worked with people of all ages with mental health concerns.

Annelise Jefferies

Annelise Jefferies
Accredited Practicing Dietitan

Annelise helps people improve mental and physical health through small but impactful food choices.

Cian Yang

Cian Yang
Program administrator

Cian is a psychology graduate, mental health research assistant and your go-to for assistance with EMERALD.

Lauren Den Ouden

Lauren Den Ouden
Psychologist

Lauren is passionate about the power of lifestyle to promote mental health and healthy brain ageing.

Andrew Watkins

Andrew Watkins
Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Andrew has 20 years' mental health experience and is excited to see EMERALD support our community's wellbeing.

Get notified when EMERALD opens

Register below to be notified when EMERALD opens to Queenslanders. Or, if you are a Be (ComLink) client, please contact your local branch to register your interest in the program.

EMERALD program