Education, Advocacy, and Wellbeing: A Michigan Minds Special Series

Back-to-school season tends to be an exciting time for students, families, and educators, but the need to establish new routines, set expectations, and ensure healthy habits can lead to increased stress levels. Mental health and wellbeing continue to be important topics when preparing for learning and teaching.  

As the start of the school year quickly approaches, five U-M experts joined Michigan Minds for a special series to discuss the impacts of remote learning on childhood development, outline strategies to help prepare for the return to school, and share tips for developing routines and coping with feelings of anxiety. 

Hear from faculty members, doctoral candidates, and staff as they detail what they learned from experiences and conducting research over the past several years as the education industry had to adapt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the advice that they have for students and caregivers this fall. 


Jevon Moore, LLMSW, outlines some of the many services Wolverine Wellness offers students, tips for incorporating mindfulness and self-care into daily activities, and strategies that can be used to reduce anxiety about returning to school. Moore is a Health Educator at U-M University Health Services, where he works alongside his team at Wolverine Wellness to foster personal and community wellbeing for students at the University of Michigan.

“I’d say as you’re really thinking about standing where you are, really think about what you actually have control over… I think sometimes in what we’re trying to prepare for, we’re missing what’s happening today and today is what makes tomorrow possible.”

Jevon Moore, LLMSW


As a professor in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education at the U-M School of Public Health, Alison Miller, PhD, studies risk and resilience in children and families. She also directs the Child Health and Development Lab and is the Steering Committee Chair for the Zero to Thrive Translational Network. Miller discusses the importance of developing early relational health between caregivers and children, how to create and support healthy habits, and strategies children can use to help them feel prepared for the school year.

“Based on these relationships, a child can learn to sort of regulate stress and learn how to control or manage their emotions, which can be big and scary if you’re a little kid—and even as an adult. Also, based on these early relationships, a child learns how to explore the world—they go out and learn new things, and can always come back to what we call a secure base when things get a little tough or scary.”

Alison Miller, PhD


Katelyn Morman, former high school educator and current PhD student in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology (CPEP), joins Sarah Stilwell, former elementary school educator and recent CPEP PhD program graduate, to talk about their research that analyzed the experiences of educators during remote teaching. During the UX@UM Conference in April, Morman and Stilwell presented their research during the session, “What do experiences tell us? Learning From and Supporting the Unique Needs of K-12 Teachers in Emergency Remote Teaching.”

“We were very interested in learning from educators—what their perspective on efficacy was at this very unique time, what we can learn from them, and how we could use their their voices, their experiences, and their own perspectives to really support their future efforts to lead to more effective educational outcomes and understandings of what this idea of educational advocacy truly does mean.”

Sarah Stilwell, PhD


Joe Himle, associate dean for faculty affairs and Howard V. Brabson Collegiate Professor of Social Work, is a mental health intervention researcher. He works to design, develop, and test mental health interventions with a focus on those who have limited access to interventions including racially and economically underserved populations.

Himle, who is also a professor of psychiatry in the U-M Medical School, joins Michigan Minds to talk about his research designing and developing lost-cost and accessible anxiety interventions, how college students can take steps to maintain a healthy balance in life, and the importance of seeking help for mental health concerns.

“It’s really important to take this opportunity this fall to try to get engaged in the opportunities that are available to you and to figure out what’s happening on campus. Doing some activities you’ve been putting off and connecting with others is a really important approach to preventing the kind of mental health trouble that often comes into people’s lives around this time in their life course.”

Joe Himle, PHD