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Empowering People Through Challenges & Change

by Dr. Mark Lerner 

Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness


When we think of wellness, we think of preventing illness, keeping people healthy and, ultimately, improving the quality of life. However, an often overlooked, yet critical component of wellness is Emotional Wellness—an awareness, understanding and acceptance of our feelings, and our ability to effectively manage through challenges and change. 


As part of an Emotional Wellness Initiative for Walgreens®, I spearheaded a national program to empower healthcare professionals to raise their level of care through the provision of timely information, personalized patient management, guidance and support. This program empowers diverse caregivers to look beyond physical needs, and also address emergent emotional needs.  


When treating patients who are sick or injured, who considers painful emotions—anxiety, fear, sadness and aloneness? Who addresses overwhelming thoughts—the patient's inability to concentrate and make decisions? Many caregivers avoid patients' emotions so they don't "open a can of worms," as many have shared with me. The reality is that far too many caregivers feel ill-prepared to address raw feelings. As one firefighter shared during a training program, "The F-word in the firehouse will never be 'feelings.'"


During overwhelming experiences, people lose a sense of control, because what was familiar is no longer the same. By gaining awareness and an understanding of one's reactions, patients can regain a sense of control. And, by providing them with practical strategies, we can ease their emotional pain, keep them functioning and lessen the likelihood of ongoing suffering.  


By focusing on Emotional Wellness, healthcare providers and first responders can be better equipped to connect with particularly challenging, emotionally distraught individuals. They can be empowered to help others when time is limited—and to know what to say when they are at a loss for words. They can more effectively manage diverse populations, such as those who are grappling with pain and chronic illness, as well as acutely depressed and potentially self-destructive people. And, they can be empowered with strategies and tools to address their own thoughts and feelings—maintaining self-care.


While focusing on Emotional Wellness, we can address the needs of the "whole person."





Dr. Mark Lerner

Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness

© 2023 by Dr. Mark Lerner

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