Project UPLIFT:

Using Practice and Learning to Increase Favorable Thoughts

Teaching participants the skills for managing and improving their mental health and quality of life.




Improve your mental health and quality of life.



Learn how to become a trained Project UPLIFT provider.

Color Squares_Purple.png

Program Snapshot


Key Components

  • Increases knowledge and skills, reduces depression, and improves quality of life.

  • Methods taught include challenging thoughts, behavioral activation, coping, problem-solving, and mindfulness.

  • Validated mental health measures are used to screen for eligibility for the program, and other measures are used throughout the program to monitor change in mental health.


Program Description

The goal of Project UPLIFT is to empower people with epilepsy to improve their own mental health through mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral skills.



  • 8 group telephone sessions over an 8-week period

  • Telephone sessions last one hour


Adults with epilepsy
(5-7 participants per telephone group)


  • Delivered by an UPLIFT trained facilitator

  • Co-facilitated by a person with epilepsy (optional)

  • Supervised by an UPLIFT Trained mental health professional

Resource Requirements

  • Telephone conference line

  • 2 facilitator manuals

  • Participant manuals and CDs


Costs of Project UPLIFT vary based upon staffing and number of participants in the group. The overall cost of the program is heavily dependent upon the cost of the facilitator.

  • Assuming facilitation led by a staff member who is paid at the rate of $50/hour, the cost of the 8-week program with 6 participants is $220.48 per participant.

  • Assuming facilitation led by a mental health professional who is paid $150/hour, the cost of the 8-week program with 6 participants is $420.48 per participant.

  • Using these figures, the total cost of running a group of 6 would range between $1323 and $2523.

  • Recent work funded by the Epilepsy Foundation indicates that it is feasible to run two groups on a budget of $5,000. This includes administrative costs of recruitment, scheduling, reminders, and sending of materials.


Program Development and Evaluation

Emory University first developed and tested Project UPLIFT, funded by the CDC. A randomized, controlled trial (RCT) took place in the community setting between 2007 and 2009. The study assessed the effect of Project UPLIFT on participants’ knowledge/skills and depressive symptoms. Participants were 40 people with epilepsy who received care at the Emory Epilepsy Center and screened positive for depression. They were randomly assigned to take part in the usual medical care (50%), or in Project UPLIFT (50%). Of those assigned to Project UPLIFT, half took part in telephone groups and half in Web groups. Participants assigned to usual care received Project UPLIFT after about a 10-week waiting period. This study showed that knowledge and skills increased more (p = 0.036) and symptoms of depression decreased more (p = 0.001) for the people who took part in Project UPLIFT than for those receiving usual care.

Between 2009 and 2012, researchers from Emory University, the University of Michigan, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, and the University of Washington conducted a second RCT of Project UPLIFT, funded by the National Institutes of Health. This study tested the effectiveness of Project UPLIFT for preventing depression among people with epilepsy. Participants were 118 people with epilepsy and mild-to-moderate symptoms of depression recruited from Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Washington. During the 10-week study period, the incidence of major depressive disorder among those receiving usual care was 10.7%, compared to 0.0% among those taking part in Project UPLIFT (p = 0.028). Participants were selected for low levels of depression symptoms, yet participation in Project UPLIFT further reduced their depression when compared to usual care (p = 0.036). This decrease was mediated by a greater change in knowledge/skills (p = 0.016). Satisfaction with life improved more among those attending Project UPLIFT than among those in usual care (p = 0.006).

Project UPLIFT has been culturally adapted for African Americans and Hispanic Americans by researchers from Emory University/Morehouse School of Medicine and NYU School of Medicine, respectively, with funding from the CDC. Two RCTs to test the efficacy of Project UPLIFT in these populations are currently underway.


Program Contact

For general information, or to register for training, email us at

For information about the Spanish translation of Project UPLIFT, please call the NYU School of Medicine research team at (646) 501-2617 or click here.

Project UPLIFT website

"One thing I’m taking away from the program is the knowledge that I’m in control of myself, and that I’m able to make myself feel good when I get into a stressful or upsetting situation, especially when it is a result of my epilepsy."

- UPLIFT Participant