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Continuing to Keep our UCLA Friends of Semel

Community Informed and Connected


The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA hope that you and your families continue to remain mentally and physically healthy. Although our lives have dramatically changed in this coronavirus era where we must be physically apart, we want to remain socially connected with you!

Capturing The Spirit of Community

To capture the spirit and sense of community of our in-person Open Mind programs, we have launched our new virtual Open Mind series that will continue to bring outstanding educational programs about mental health issues to our community. 

We hope that our coronavirus era programming offers you the opportunity to learn and grow and feel connected, even while physically apart.

Silver lining – no more fighting traffic to get to UCLA!


Tuesday, May 19th, 4PM "On Being Together-Six Feet Apart: How to stay Socially and Emotionally Connected in the Coronavirus Era" with Robert Bilder, Ph.D., Professor and Chief, Division of Psychology, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Codirector, MindWell Pod of the Semel UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative in conversation with Wendy Slusser, MD, MS, FAAP, Associate Vice Provost Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center and Clinical Professor, UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health Register Here

Thursday, June 4, 4PM – Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family - OPRAH’s BOOK CLUB pick! Join Robert Kolker, author of the New York Times, #1 bestselling book, Hidden Valley Road, the story of a midcentury American family with 12 children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. Mr. Kolker will be joined in discussion by Dr. Stephen Marder, UCLA Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and a world-renowned expert on schizophrenia. 
Register Here

Friday, June 12, 4PM – "Parenting During the Pandemic". Join Lori Gottlieb and Dr. Dan Siegel for a virtual Open Mind program. Lori Gottlieb is the New York Times best-selling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, psychotherapist, and "Dear Therapist" columnist for The Atlantic; Dr. Daniel Siegel is a psychiatrist, best-selling author of numerous books including Parenting From the Inside Out, The Whole Brain Child, The Developing Mind, and co-founder of The Mindsight Institute. 
Register Here

#WOW The Wonder of Women Summit is going virtual! Watch our website for dates for special presentations by actress Lisa Kudrow and more!


Today is Giving Tuesday, a day of global generosity! Invest in the future of mental health research, education and clinical care at UCLA NOW! In these unprecedented times, it is imperative that we protect our mental health as well as our physical health. 

The pandemic has created unexpected challenges for the research community as many laboratories have been forced to close and clinical trials postponed. Future funding is potentially in jeopardy so the need for your philanthropic support is greater than ever. Please DONATE NOW.

Important Information From UCLA Leadership

A message from Thomas Strouse, M.D., Medical Director of the UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital


As an integral part of UCLA Health, the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital has been deeply involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. General information for the public is available at: https://www.uclahealth.org/coronavirus 

Staff and faculty at RNPH have been very busy with the regular activities we do each day: providing acute inpatient psychiatric care for children, adolescents, and adults; evaluating patients presenting to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Emergency Department with acute psychiatric problems that often require hospitalization; and consulting with our colleagues in medicine, surgery, and pediatrics to assist them in caring for acutely medically ill inpatients at Reagan and Santa Monica. Of course, concern about the pandemic, both in our patients and in our colleagues, have been constant themes in all of this work.

Along with the rest of the Health System we’ve also rapidly expanded our utilization of telemedicine in a variety of novel settings, including both outpatient and inpatient. This has been an important way for patients to have access to needed care, while protecting the health and safety of all involved.

A very helpful listing of publicly available services provided by the County of Los Angeles is also available here. 

UCLA’s Stand Together During COVID-19 can be accessed here , and includes links to a guide for finding support resources throughout the United States.


Standing Together during COVID-19
World renowned UCLA psychologist Michelle Craske, Ph.D. explains that it is normal to feel stress, anxiety and sadness during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first installment of U
CLA’s COVID-19 Care Package, Dr. Craske also shares five tools we can use right away to relieve stress and anxiety. 

What Our Past Open Mind Speakers 
wrote During the COVID-19 Era


Judy Collins, Singer-Songwriter and author of Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Strength 

“I wish I could be at all the hospitals and sing AMAZING GRACE to all the wonderful nurses and doctors around the world! This is why we make music and recordings!”

We wish Judy a Happy 80th Birthday 5/1/20! Here’s an inspiring poem she has written for the occasion.

About 80

Into the memory into the mystery Into the west where the rivers roam Into the time when the heart was home Into the sunrise where dreams abide Into the future where visions slide

Beyond the yearning to be the best Dissolving the distance between the rest Hearing the heart that beats on still Suddenly one with the wind and the mill

At one with the sea At one with the dawn At one with the melody Still singing on

Stilling the days when the burden was all Praying and musing about the fall

Gone the resentments Gone the revenge Gone the regrets The remorse and the fear

Opening onto the dancing light Face in the mirror crystal clear Today is the moment Tomorrow the dream Yesterday sparkles like Gold in the stream

Life moving on Hope in the dawn Gratitude flowing from here To beyond

Into the memory into the mystery Into the west where the rivers roam Into the time when the heart was home Into the sunrise where dreams abide Into the future where visions slide


Patti Davis, Author of 12 books, including her latest, The Wrong Side of Night. and The Long Goodbye: Memories of My Father. Daughter of President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan
The Grief Heard Round the World 
When a Disease is Calling the Shots


Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut
"Being quarantined is never easy — I know! — but it's something we can all do for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones and our country. Call it one small step for each of us, one giant leap for mankind!"

Dr. Aldrin is selling 
photos from Apollo 11 to raise funds for Covid-19 victims. 


Andrew Solomon, National Book award winning author of The Noonday Demons and Far From the Tree

Staying Connected Amidst Social Isolation

The importance of prioritizing mental health while in medically mandated social isolation.

When the Pandemic Leaves Us Alone, Anxious and Depressed
“We are in a dual crisis of physical and mental health. But there are ways to head off breakdowns.”

Keeping Our Heads While Keeping Our Distance
"Human beings are social animals; your emotional stability depends upon interaction"

TED Ideas worth spreading 
How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are.


Dan Siegel, M.D., Psychiatrist, renowned author and co-founder of the Mindsight Institute explores how we can build resilience and connection during the pandemic in his weekly PEPP MWe Up Talks and Gatherings  


Michael Irwin, M.D., Director, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Director, Mindful Awareness Research Center

The UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Center (MARC) offers free guided meditations (needs the link) to relieve stress. You may also download the UCLA Health app “UCLA Mindful” on your mobile device. This and other tools, developed at the Semel Institute, necessary to support our emotional health during the Covid-19 pandemic, are posted on the California Coronavirus (Covid-19) Response website


Rabbi Steve Leder, Senior Rabbi Wilshire Boulevard Temple and author of More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us. 
Rabbi Leder helps make sense of a tough time on The Today Show


LA Rabbi helps us get through coronavirus fears “Where there’s shadow, there’s light: 


Lori Gottlieb, New York Times best-selling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and Atlantic columnist.

”Are you grieving the losses of coronavirus? In addition to the tragic losses of life and health and jobs, we are grieving the losses of weddings, sports, family holiday celebrations, or getting a haircut or manicure!" 
Lori Gottlieb shares her thoughts. 

From the Opinion section of the New York Times, Virtual sessions offer the intimacy – and comedy – of seeing patients and therapists in their personal environments. In Psychotherapy The Toilet Becomes the New Couch


Gail Saltz, M.D., Psychiatrist, columnist and best-selling author of The Power of Different
Looking for ideas to keep things interesting at home? Staying engaged with fun, mentally stimulating activities isn’t just about passing the time but drawing together as a family during a difficult time.
Why Families Should Also Prioritize Fun During the Coronavirus Pandemic


Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, M.D. - psychiatrist and author of BEDLAM, An Intimate Journey into America’s Mental Health Crisis
“Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health during this Pandemic”

We urge you all to take some of this extra, quiet time to read Upheaval, Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, the latest book written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jared Diamond. 

Upheaval is a beautiful and timely account of how nations and individuals deal with crisis and go forward with resilience.


We urge you all to take some of this extra, quiet time to read Upheaval, Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, the latest book written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jared Diamond. Upheaval is a beautiful and timely account of how nations and individuals deal with crisis and go forward with resilience.

n case you missed our first virtual Open Mind program with Dr. Gary Small on his latest book The Small Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease, please visit our website at www.friendsofthesemelinstitute.org where you will find the video of his presentation along with videos of many Friends of Semel past Open Mind programs.