Please visit our COVID-19 Resources page for more information on stroke care during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mental Health

Our brain is in charge of most things in our body, including our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When someone experiences a stroke, it can affect parts of the brain that control our mood and behavior so that they no longer work as they used to before the stroke. That is why stroke survivors often struggle with common mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation, during and after their recovery. In general, we call these concerns Post-Stroke Psychosocial Stress.

When stroke survivors do not get treatment for post-stroke psychosocial stress, it can take longer for them to feel better during their recovery. This can have a negative effect on survivors’ quality of life as well, which in turn can worsen the post-stroke psychosocial stress. Add to this the fact that stroke survivors often discharge directly home from the hospital without additional supportive services and are only able to receive care from family members, spouses, and loved ones, whom we call informal caregivers. Because informal caregivers usually don’t have any medical training, they can feel overwhelmed and develop caregiver burden and psychosocial stress. Increased caregiver burden can affect the informal caregiver’s ability to help the stroke survivor through their recovery. This means that both the stroke survivor and their informal caregiver’s psychosocial stress can increase, which can also make recovery more difficult.

Fortunately, there are helpful therapies and supports for stroke survivors and informal caregivers. Receiving these kinds of supports can improve the recovery process for the stroke survivor and their loved ones by reducing post-stroke psychosocial stress.

The Mental Health Program focuses on developing behavioral interventions, supports, and therapies for this crucial post-stroke period. We are interested in learning about how the interventions can improve post-stroke psychosocial stress so that we can improve the education and support services for stroke survivors and their informal caregivers in our communities.

For additional resources click on any of the links below to jump to:

Meet Our Mental Health Team

For Stroke Survivors                                                         


Local Support Groups                                                  


The Jung Center's Mind Body Spirit Institute Resources


Jung Center Logo Washing hands with soap

Weekly Meditation Program

The Jung Center's Mind Body Spirit Institute offers free weekly meditation. This online and live streaming program can be taken from home, or anywhere with an internet connection. For more information and registration details, please visit the The Jung Center's Mind Body Spirit Institute

  • The Power of Community
  • Coping With Grief
Mindful Hand Washing

"Every time we wash our hands, we have a perfect opportunity to bring our attention to the present and let go of anxiety. Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, founding director of The Jung Center's Mind Body Spirit Institute, teaches this easy practice." Please check out this mindful handwashing video provided by The Jung Center of Houston.

The S.T.O.P. Formula

During the day, if you find your mind is racing, you are having trouble focusing, or you are feeling overwhelmed, angry, agitated, worried, or critical (of self and others), use the STOP Formula - Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN

S – Stop, pause

T – Take a few slow, deep breaths and tune in

O – Open and Observe – notice what is on your mind and how you feel

P – Proceed with awareness, kindness, and wise action (or inaction)

Dr. Alejandro Chaoul shares a few mindful "pills" to do between interpreting encounters, or stressful moments that can be viewed here

Helpful Books                                                      


For Health Care Professionals

UTHealth Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Faculty: Recent Publications (2020-2022)

Mental Health After Stroke

Jennifer Beauchamp, PhD, RN

  • Achilike, S., Beauchamp, J. E. S., Cron, S. G., Okpala, M., Payen, S. S., Baldridge, L., Okpala, N., Montiel, T. C., Varughese, T., Love, M., Fagundes, C., Savitz, S., & Sharrief, A. (2020). Caregiver Burden and Associated Factors Among Informal Caregivers of Stroke Survivors. The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: Journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, 52(6), 277–283.
  • Beauchamp, J.E.S., Casameni Montiel T., Cai, C., Tallavajhula, S., Hinojosa, E., Okpala, M.N., Vahidy, F. S., Savitz, S.I., Sharrief, A.Z. (2020). A Retrospective Study to Identify Novel Factors Associated with Post-stroke AnxietyJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases. DOI: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2019.104582
  • Castro, A., Leal, A. A., Montiel, T. C., Sharrief, A., Denny, M. C., & Beauchamp, J. E. S. (2022). RAPIDO: Promoting stroke awareness among Spanish speakers. Nursing, 52(1), 46–50.
  • Daundasekara, S. S., Beauchamp, J. E. S., & Hernandez, D. C. (2021). Parenting stress mediates the longitudinal effect of maternal depression on child anxiety/depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 295, 33–39.
  • Daundasekara, S. S., Schuler, B. R., Beauchamp, J. E. S., & Hernandez, D. C. (2021). The mediating effect of parenting stress and couple relationship quality on the association between material hardship trajectories and maternal mental health status. Journal of Affective Disorders, 290, 31–39.
  • Fournier, L. E., Beauchamp, J. E. S., Zhang, X., Bonojo, E., Love, M., Cooksey, G., Hinojosa, E., Okpala, M. N., Savitz, S. I., & Sharrief, A. Z. (2020). Assessment of the Progression of Poststroke Depression in Ischemic Stroke Patients Using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases: The Official Journal of National Stroke Association, 29(4), 104561.
  • Love, M.F., Sharrief, A., LoBiondo-Wood, G., Cron S.G., & Beauchamp E.S. (2020). The Effects of Meditation, Race, and Anxiety on Stroke Survivor Resilience. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing. DOI: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000509
  • Love, M. F., Wood, G. L., Wardell, D. W., & Beauchamp, J. E. S. (2021). Resilience and associated psychological, social/cultural, behavioural, and biological factors in patients with cardiovascular disease: A systematic review. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: Journal of the Working Group on Cardiovascular Nursing of the European Society of Cardiology, 20(6), 604–617.
  • Naqvi, I. A., Montiel, T. C., Bittar, Y., Hunter, N., Okpala, M., Johnson, C., Weiner, M. G., Savitz, S., Sharrief, A., & Beauchamp, J. E. S. (2021). Internet Access and Usage Among Stroke Survivors and Their Informal Caregivers: Cross-sectional Study. JMIR Formative Research, 5(3), e25123.
  • Reddy, S. T., Satani, N., Beauchamp, J. E. S., Selvaraj, S., Rajan, S. S., Rahbar, M. H., Tahanan, A., Kim, S., Holder, T., Jiang, X., Chen, L., Kamal, H., Indupuru, H. K. R., Wu, T.-C., & Savitz, S. I. (2021). A meta-analysis of the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stroke care & the Houston Experience. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 8(4), 929–937.
  • Rhoades, B. D., Beauchamp, J. E. S., Engebretson, J. C., & Wardell, D. W. (2020). Influencing factors on left ventricular assist device adaptation: A systematic review. Heart & Lung: The Journal of Critical Care, 49(5), 501–511.
  • Streck, B. P., Wardell, D. W., LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Beauchamp, J. E. S. (2020). Interdependence of physical and psychological morbidity among patients with cancer and family caregivers: Review of the literature. Psycho-Oncology, 29(6), 974–989.


Alejandro Chaoul, PhD

  • Mama, S. K., Bhuiyan, N., Chaoul, A., Cohen, L., Fagundes, C. P., Hoover, D. S., Strong, L. L., Li, Y., Nguyen, N. T., & McNeill, L. H. (2020). Feasibility and acceptability of a faith-based mind-body intervention among African American adults. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 10(4), 928–937.
  • Sinclair, K. L., Kiser, E., Ratcliff, C. G., Chaoul, A., Hall, M. H., Rinpoche, T. W., & Cohen, L. (2022). Sleep moderates the effects of Tibetan yoga for women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer.


Christopher Fagundes, PhD

  • Brown, R. L., Fagundes, C. P., Thayer, J. F., & Christian, L. M. (2021). Longitudinal changes in HRV across pregnancy and postpartum: Effect of negative partner relationship qualities. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 129, 105216.
  • Brown, R. L., Shahane, A. D., Chen, M. A., & Fagundes, C. P. (2020). Cognitive reappraisal and nasal cytokine production following experimental rhinovirus infection. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health, 1.
  • Fagundes, C. P., & Wu, E. L. (2020). Matters of the heart: Grief, morbidity, and mortality. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(3), 235–241.
  • Seiler, A., Sood, A. K., Jenewein, J., & Fagundes, C. P. (2020). Can stress promote the pathophysiology of brain metastases? A critical review of biobehavioral mechanisms. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 87, 860–880.
  • Shahane, A. D., LeRoy, A. S., Denny, B. T., & Fagundes, C. P. (2020). Connecting cognition, cardiology, and chromosomes: Cognitive reappraisal impacts the relationship between heart rate variability and telomere length in CD8+CD28- cells. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 112, 104517.
  • Wu, E. L., LeRoy, A. S., Heijnen, C. J., & Fagundes, C. P. (2021). Inflammation and future depressive symptoms among recently bereaved spouses. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 128, 105206.


Jennifer Hughes, PhD

  • Bohannan, B. J., Kerr, B., Jessup, C. M., Hughes, J. B., & Sandvik, G. (2002). Trade-offs and coexistence in microbial microcosms. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek81(1-4), 107–115.
  • Horner-Devine, M. C., Lage, M., Hughes, J. B., & Bohannan, B. J. (2004). A taxa-area relationship for bacteria. Nature432(7018), 750–753.
  • Hughes, J. B., & Roughgarden, J. (2000). Species Diversity and Biomass Stability. The American naturalist155(5), 618–627.
  • Hughes, J. B., & Hellmann, J. J. (2005). The application of rarefaction techniques to molecular inventories of microbial diversity. Methods in enzymology397, 292–308.
  • Ives, A. R., & Hughes, J. B. (2002). General relationships between species diversity and stability in competitive systems. The American naturalist159(4), 388–395.


Sudhakar Selvaraj, MD, PhD

  • Fang, F., Gao, Y., Schulz, P. E., Selvaraj, S., & Zhang, Y. (2021). Brain controllability distinctiveness between depression and cognitive impairment. Journal of Affective Disorders, 294, 847–856.
  • Reddy, S. T., Satani, N., Beauchamp, J. E. S., Selvaraj, S., Rajan, S. S., Rahbar, M. H., Tahanan, A., Kim, S., Holder, T., Jiang, X., Chen, L., Kamal, H., Indupuru, H. K. R., Wu, T.-C., & Savitz, S. I. (2021). A meta-analysis of the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stroke care & the Houston Experience. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 8(4), 929–937.
  • Selvaraj, S., Arora, T., Casameni Montiel, T., Grey, I., Alfraih, H., Fadipe, M., Suchting, R., Savitz, S., Sanner Beauchamp, J. E., & Östlundh, L. (2021). Early screening for post-stroke depression, and the effect on functional outcomes, quality of life and mortality: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 11(8), e050451.
  • Selvaraj, S., & John, V. (2020). Taking care of medical students: The pillars of future healthcare. Revista Brasileira De Psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil: 1999), 43(1), 4–5.
  • Stamenkovic, D. M., Selvaraj, S., Venkatraman, S., Arshad, A., Rancic, N. K., Dragojevic-Simic, V. M., Miljkovic, M. N., & Cattano, D. (2020). Anesthesia for patients with psychiatric illnesses: A narrative review with emphasis on preoperative assessment and postoperative recovery and pain. Minerva Anestesiologica, 86(10), 1089–1102.
  • Wu, Z., Peng, Y., Selvaraj, S., Schulz, P. E., & Zhang, Y. (2020). Development of Brain Structural Networks Over Age 8: A Preliminary Study Based on Diffusion Weighted Imaging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 12, 61.


Anjail Sharrief, MD, MPH

  • Kim, Y., Sharrief, A., Kwak, M. J., Khose, S., Abdelkhaleq, R., Salazar-Marioni, S., Zhang, G.-Q., & Sheth, S. A. (2022). Underutilization of Endovascular Therapy in Black Patients With Ischemic Stroke: An Analysis of State and Nationwide Cohorts. Stroke, STROKEAHA121035714.
  • Noser, E. A., Zhang, J., Rahbar, M. H., Sharrief, A. Z., Barreto, A. D., Shaw, S., Grotta, J. C., Savitz, S. I., & Ifejika, N. L. (2021). Leveraging Multimedia Patient Engagement to Address Minority Cerebrovascular Health Needs: Prospective Observational Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(8), e28748.
  • Sheth, S. A., Wu, T.-C., Sharrief, A., Ankrom, C., Grotta, J. C., Fisher, M., & Savitz, S. I. (2020). Early Lessons From World War COVID Reinventing Our Stroke Systems of Care. Stroke, 51(7), 2268–2272.
  • Skolarus, L. E., Sharrief, A., Gardener, H., Jenkins, C., & Boden-Albala, B. (2020). Considerations in Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Reduce Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Stroke Outcomes in the United States. Stroke, 51(11), 3433–3439.

  • Ancer Leal, A., Castro, A., Kadiyala,A., Casameni Montiel, T., Beauchamp, J., Sharrief, A., Denny, C. (August 2020). Video-based Stroke Education: Stroke Messaging for Spanish-speakers. Virtual 4th Annual International Neuroscience Nursing Research Symposium (INNRS). First place for best poster.


The UTSHB Consortium is a UT System Administration initiative designed to improve the health of Texans by providing a standardized biospecimen/related data search and request mechanism for UT personnel at participating institutions. Mental health data is available with appropriate approvals. Find out more at: