Mental Health Core

Our brain governs our emotions and behaviors. When a stroke occurs, parts of our brain that control our mood and behavior may no longer function at their most optimal state. That is why stroke survivors often struggle with post-stroke psychosocial stressor such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation during and after their recovery.

Untreated post-stroke psychosocial distress can impair recovery and lead to decreased quality of life or longer recovery times for stroke survivors. Furthermore, stroke survivors often are discharged from an acute care setting directly home without additional supportive services and receive assistance primarily from informal caregivers (e.g., spouses, family members, or friends), whom are usually unprepared for the role. Increased caregiver burden affects the informal caregiver’s ability to assist the stroke survivor and their recovery; therefore, both stroke survivor and informal caregiver psychosocial distress can significantly affect a stroke survivor’s recovery. Notably, caregiver burden also impacts the health and well-being of the informal caregiver.

Post-stroke interventions are crucial to alleviate the added psychological and social distress stroke survivors and informal caregivers endure. Specifically, self-management behavioral techniques to manage psychosocial stressors affecting both the stroke survivor and informal caregiver are critical for optimal recovery and well-being.

The Mental Health Core focuses on developing and implementing interventions for the crucial post-stroke period. Specifically, we are interested in determining how self-management and behavioral interventions can address post-stroke psychosocial distress in order to provide better education and supportive services for stroke survivors and their informal caregivers.