Crystal Brandow

Writing for Wellness: Occupational and Physical Wellness

Since 1949, May has been a national observance month for mental health. During Mental Health Month, awareness is raised about the impact of mental health conditions on individuals, families, and communities. Recognizing the importance of this observance, WellStaff@PRA, Policy Research Associates’ staff wellness committee, organized its first annual Mental Health Awareness Step Challenge in 2017.… Read More


Writing for Wellness Blog Header: Financial

I regretted volunteering to write a blog on financial wellness while I simultaneously procrastinate recertifying my student loans and find myself ordering lunch at the office more than I bring food from home.  Then, I was reminded (thanks to my super smart supervisor!) that writing a blog on financial wellness doesn’t have to be about… Read More


National Wellness Week is Sunday, September 11 through Saturday, September 17. Each day has had a different theme, and PRA staff have gotten in on the fun! PRA staff were asked to share their favorite Wellness Tip! Their answers were compiled into a Flipagram—watch to see their best tips! As Wellness Week falls during Recovery… Read More


Whole Health Month Blog Header-Self Efficacy

I’m a health communication scholar, and I’m passionate about and intrigued by behavior change.  This fascination was part of the impetus for my enrollment in a PhD program – thirsty for knowledge and expertise on the topic of behavior change, particularly as it relates to health and wellness. One of the central tenets of several… Read More


Whole Health Month Blog Header-The Warrior Dash

A couple of years ago, my life was not looking exactly as I would’ve hoped. For various reasons, I moved back to my hometown in February 2013 and wondered where my life was headed.  In May 2013, a girlfriend asked if I wanted to do Warrior Dash–one of those obstacle course races–in Windham in July.… Read More


Raw Food Blog Header

Back in 2012, I was on Twitter and saw a tweet from Ani Phyo, a chef, stating that people who entered a raw food challenge could win a Vitamix. At the time, I was in the market for a Vitamix, so I looked into how I could join this challenge.  I clicked the link provided;… Read More


Whole Health Month Tip Sheet - Wellness

Interested in improving your wellness? This tip sheet provides a list of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, as well as sample activities that can be done to improve wellness in each area. In addition, there is some explanation as to why these activities actually matter and proof of their ability to create subtle transformations in… Read More


Occupational Wellness Blog Header

Occupational wellness is defined as personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work (SAMHSA, 2015).  I’m in a unique position because I helped write the proposal responding to SAMHSA’s RFP for the Program to Achieve Wellness.  PRA received that contract, and I received a job with a program that I spent countless hours describing in the… Read More


Whole Health Month Play Blog Header

I love Michael Jackson.  Here’s one of my favorite Michael Jackson quotes: “I will never stop helping and love people…Continue to love, always love.  Bring on the children, imitate the children – not childish, but childlike.” From this, I gather it behooves us to live lives filled with an abundance of love and childlike adventure.… Read More


Whole Health Month Blog Header (3)

Wellness is something many people aspire to achieve, but what is it?  How do we make sense of this vague term?  Is it being physically fit?  Is it having stability in life?  Is it maintaining recovery?  SAMHSA defines wellness as “being in good physical and mental health” and notes “Wellness is not the absence of… Read More


Blades of Grass

dis•par•i•ty noun, plural -ties. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference: a disparity in age; disparity in rank What are the disparities that exist in the behavioral health system? Disparities in the behavioral health system exist when unjust inequities in access to and quality of treatment exist.  For example, Native Americans disproportionately experience PTSD and… Read More