Susan Carsten, Albert Ujkaj and Stephanie Rosum, who are part of Hamilton Community Health Network's behavioral health team, will be involved in Hamilton's monthly discussion series on mental health. (Photo courtesy of Hamilton Community Health Network)

Flint, MI—Hamilton Community Health Network is launching a series of monthly discussions on mental health this week. 

The first event of the series, “Happy Mind, Better Health,” will be hosted by Hamilton from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at its North Pointe Clinic at 5710 Clio Rd., Flint, Mich. The event is free with limited seating.

Hamilton’s director of behavioral health Albert Ujkaj will be leading the discussion, and he said the series focuses on providing people with skills to cope with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Mental and physical health goes hand-in-hand, Ujkaj added, and symptoms related to behavioral health can all impact our overall wellbeing. 

“People invest time into exercising for their physical body, going to the gym, eating healthy, losing weight … It’s just as important to invest in the mental body,” Ujkaj said. 

According to Ujkaj, individuals have on average 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts daily, the majority of which are negative, repetitive or false. For the Flint community, lack of access to education and basic needs such as shelter, housing and food, also known as the social determinants of health, are all factors that can affect people’s mental health, he added. 

Participants in the series will get the chance to learn techniques used in therapy to positively cope with their thoughts and emotions. Those therapeutic techniques include emotional regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness. 

“We do grounding skills, showing you techniques on how to be in this moment, how to be present, how to enjoy this moment and not to stress out about yesterday or tomorrow, but you’re here,” Ujkaj said.

Even though awareness about the importance of mental health has grown in recent years, Ujkaj said the stigma of reaching out for assistance remains. So, for Ujkaj, being able to take part in the Happy Mind, Better Health series goes a long way toward helping educate the public.

“I’ve worked in this community in Flint for over 10 years and if I can invest a little bit of time in teaching somebody to invest in their mind, to me, that’s worth it,” Ujkaj said. 

Individuals can RSVP to Allie McKenzie of Hamilton at

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...