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

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EMERALD: proactive mental wellbeing care

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

EMERALD is an evidence-driven program for adults experiencing early signs that their mental wellbeing 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 wellbeing 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 health
  • 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 decline in mental wellbeing is therefore vital for this prevention – 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-driven 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 and can be completed at a time that suits you.

Appointments with an allied health practitioner

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

The 45-minute appointments are held during business hours.

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 adults (aged 18 years and over) who:

  • have recently noticed changes in their wellbeing, such as feeling down, stressed or lonely, or 'not quite themselves' in their reactions or behaviours (see 'Signs your mental wellbeing needs support')
  • have not received support from a psychologist or psychiatrist for a mental health condition in the past 12 months
  • have not taken prescribed medication for a mental health condition in the past 12 months

If you are unsure about your eligibility please feel welcome to contact us.

EMERALD is for people who want professional support and evidence-based information to help them implement wellbeing lifestyle strategies.

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

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 2-3 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:

  • Queenslanders, thanks to Queensland Health funding
  • Be (formerly ComLink) clients thanks to Australian Government Department of Health funding

To take part:

  • Check you meet the eligibility criteria (see 'Who Emerald is for')
  • Commit 2-3 hours per week for 8 weeks to your appointments and learning modules.
  • Register your interest (Queenslanders click here, Be clients click here)

Please note: Appointments are held during business hours but learning modules can be completed any time.

Already enrolled?

Log in to EMERALD Learning to access your learning modules

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Your EMERALD team

Program administrator

Your EMERALD administrator will manage your appointments, assist with your access to learning modules, send links to questionnaires and help with technical issues.

Health coach

Your EMERALD health coach will guide you through the program from start to finish. They will assist you to identify goals and support you to achieve them. Your health coach will do this by discussing which of EMERALD’s online learning modules will assist you and arranging appointments with our Allied Health Professionals who specialise in the area of your mental wellbeing that you wish to focus on. They will also touch base with you throughout the program to discuss your progress toward your mental wellbeing goal. Your health coach will be in contact via a 30-minute telehealth appointment once per fortnight. Appointments are held during business hours.

Dietitian

Our dietitian will work with you to target more specific goals regarding nutrition that will support your mental wellbeing. This will be in a 45-minute telehealth appointment, held during business hours.

Exercise physiologist

Our exercise physiologist will work with you to target more specific goals regarding movement and physical activity that will support your mental wellbeing. This will be in a 45-minute telehealth appointment, held during business hours.

Wellbeing clinician

Our wellbeing clinician will work with you on mental wellbeing topics that you identify as being targeted goals. Topics include sleep, stress management and mindfulness. This will be in a 45-minute telehealth appointment held during business hours.

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 wellbeing 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.

Cian Yang

Cian Yang
Program administrator

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

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.

Lauren Den Ouden

Lauren Den Ouden
Psychologist

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

Rory Fischer

Rory Fischer
Psychologist

Rory is an experienced psychologist who enjoys helping people improve the areas of life they find most important.

Annelise Jefferies

Annelise Jefferies
Accredited Practicing Dietitan

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

Michael Peggs

Michael Pegg
Exercise Physiologist

Michael is passionate about helping clients improve their quality of life through sustainable physical activity strategies.