Megan smiling in front of a picture
You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

January is Mental Wellness Awareness Month. As we kick off the new year, it’s a perfect time to recognize the importance of attending to our mental well-being. We wanted to learn more and recently sat down with Megan, who is Easterseals UCP’s Senior Program Director of Behavioral Health.

Q: Tell us about yourself.
Megan: I’m a wife and busy mom of a 2-year old. I’m also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT). I began my career with ESUCP 11 years ago as an Intensive In-Home Team Lead and I’ve continued to grow with the organization. Today, I lead part of the Behavioral Health team, which includes outpatient services, child and adult community-based enhanced services and employment services across North Carolina. Within the services I support, I provide clinical guidance and support, operating efficiency and financial oversight.

Q: Is there difference between Mental Wellness and Mental Health?
Megan: Mental wellness describes a broader holistic approach on being proactive regarding one’s mental health. You often hear “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” so think of mental wellness as prioritizing the “filling of your cup” with what you need to take care of your mental health. Taking care of your mental wellness helps foster personal resiliency to cope with life stressors and challenges to your mental health.

Q: What are a few best practices for fostering mental wellness?
Megan: It’s essential to prioritize all aspects of yourself, including mental health and wellness, as this will support you being the best version of yourself. Creating your own mental wellness plan is highly individualized, but anyone can start by doing simple things that bring joy and happiness.

The most common best practices to improve your mental health are:

  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Adequate sleep and good sleep hygiene
  • Good nutrition and a healthy diet
  • Mindfulness and guided mediation
  • Giving back and volunteering
  • Learning new things and having creative outlets
  • Connecting with others in meaningful ways
  • Enjoying time with friends and family

It’s amazing what a 15-minute walk outside can do! With technology, people can also try one of the many apps for guided meditation and mindfulness. For me, I keep a daily gratitude journal and aim for ten minutes of stretching paired with mindful breathing every day. I also like to prioritize time to intentionally “unplug” from technology and limit multi-tasking. Just finding a few minutes each day to focus on the positive and being present has positively improved my overall outlook for myself, family and working with colleagues.

Q: These are great tips for mental wellness. However, if someone is experiencing mental health challenges, what should they do?
Megan: Connection is one of the best supports for mental health. When possible, connect with friends, family and the community in meaningful ways. A therapist can be a great resource to help create your individualized mental wellness plan and overall support for your mental health. If someone is experiencing mental health challenges or a mental health crisis, Easterseals UCP is here to help. We offer a wide range of support for children and adults. Our services include outpatient therapy, medication management and case management to enhanced community-based services and crisis support. For more information about our services, visit or call our intake team at 919-865-8802.

  • For crisis and immediate assistance –If you are connected to an Easterseals UCP service, please check with your provider to ensure you have our crisis number for your service. Also, North Carolina has Managed Care Organization (MCOs) that have direct access lines and can provide resources available to people living in North Carolina. Click here to find your Managed Care Organization (MCO).
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-8255
  • Hope4NC Helpline – Call 855-587-3463
  • Hope4Healers Helpline – Call 919-226-2002
  • NC4Vets – Call 844-624-8387
  • Problem Gambling Hotline – Call 877-718-5543

Easterseals UCP and PORT Health are trustworthy, compassionate partners providing exceptional disability, behavioral health and addiction treatment services to help our neighbors live their best lives. Purpose, dedication and empathy drive our in-person and telehealth service delivery. Our diverse and inclusive 2,600 member team provides more than 10.2 million hours of meaningful support to 40,200 kids, adults and families in 11,000 home, facility and community locations across North Carolina and Virginia. Learn more at