Dr. Mickey Barber Pledges to Combat Mental Health Crisis Across South Carolina

Dr. Mickey Barber has pledged $50,000 to help SEL4SC promote crucial life skills for students and parents

The Social Emotional Learning Alliance for South Carolina (SEL4SC) is honored to announce that Michale J. (Mickey) Barber, M.D. has pledged $50,000 to help the organization promote and advance crucial life skills instruction in all schools, families, organizations, and communities in South Carolina.

Formerly a board-certified anesthesiologist, Dr. Barber graduated from the College of Charleston, completed medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina, did her residency at Tulane University, and finished her fellowship at Harvard. She also served as an assistant professor at Tulane University. During her training and career in academic medicine, she received several awards for her clinical performance and teaching skills.

In her mid-40’s, Dr. Barber began feeling ill. After months of suffering, she was eventually diagnosed with a neuropathy that was negatively affecting all of her systems. This event spurred Dr. Barber to leave her career in the operating room and shift toward a private practice focused on helping people live healthy, vigorous lives at any age. She would eventually receive physician training and certification in age management medicine from the Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation (CERF) and the Foundation for Care Management (FCM), and would be certified in peptide therapy by the Clinical Peptide Society. She launched the Cenegenics Carolinas LLC practice in downtown Charleston, and would later open Better Life Carolinas in Mount Pleasant.

Throughout her academic and private practice, Dr. Barber has passionately pursued her interests in health, nutrition, and exercise, as well as mind-body and age management medicine. In November 2012, she was awarded the Alan P. Mintz award for Clinical Excellence in Age Management Medicine, the top honor in her field. 

SEL4SC is dedicated to promoting life skills that can help children and adults properly recognize and process their emotions, which can help them lead healthy, successful lives. That mission overlaps with the care Dr. Barber strives to provide for her patients.

“The mind has many, many different chemicals that affect everything from your heart to your gut and even to your muscles and how they work or don’t work,” she says. “Emotions, stress, anger, and resentment can affect those chemicals in the brain. That connection is very big, and if you just treat from the neck down, you’re missing a lot. We have to give people the tools they need to deal with the anxieties and emotions they’re having.”

Dr. Barber’s partnership with SEL4SC was inspired by the emotional struggles of some of her family members, as well as her friendship with one of her longtime patients, SEL4SC founder Al Estee.

“Al is one of the few men from his generation that has really jumped in with both feet from a personal level with social and emotional learning, and then has found a way to bring it to young people and teachers — everyone, really, across the board,” she says. “Al and I have always talked about the emotional component of health, and how to get better at managing that for ourselves and for patients, and so when the opportunity came along to be involved, that seemed like a good thing. We’re very fortunate to have Al out there pounding the pavement and speaking the word.”

Dr. Barber’s contribution to SEL4SC will help the organization further its initiatives, which include helping schools effectively teach life skills in the classroom and creating life skills programming and curriculum for parents.

“We are very thankful for Dr. Barber’s commitment to SEL4SC,” says Estee. “Not only has she made a tremendous impact in the lives of her patients, but her contribution will go a long way toward helping us fulfill our mission of impacting countless lives across the state.”

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