Meet Michigan Medicine: Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience

October 23, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,
The Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience team.

Working in any academic medical center can be incredibly gratifying and rewarding, as exceptional patient care, education and research is carried out each day. It can also be challenging at times, leading to potential stress, exhaustion and burnout.

Fortunately, all faculty and staff at Michigan Medicine have an important — and no-cost — resource within the organization.

During National Depression Awareness Month, here’s what you may not know about the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience, a small, yet powerful, team that helps faculty and staff stay strong each and every day.

There for you, 24/7

The office is made up of five full-time counselors who have a wide range of backgrounds, including social work and psychology. There is also a director, program manager and two program assistants.

“Our team is available 24/7 for each of our faculty and staff should they need our resources,” said Kathleen Robertson, M.S., R.N., director of the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience.

Among those resources are counseling for individuals struggling with stress and burnout or coping with trauma and loss in their personal or professional lives. There is also help available for those managing difficult workplace issues, long-term concerns such as depression and even relationship counseling for couples.

For any crisis or urgent concern, counselors can see people right away. The team also provides immediate consultation and information for acute stressors within the health system.

“Our office uses a short-term counseling model, seeing people for typically up to six sessions,” Robertson said. “At that point, we will work with employees to help them find a community partner for more long-term care.”

Other forms of support

Counseling isn’t the only type of work the office provides.

“Many times, people will come to us if they’d like proactive support, such as coaching on how to enhance their leadership skills or how to grow in their careers,” said Kelcey Stratton, Ph.D., program manager for resiliency and well-being services.

There is also an educational and outreach component to their work.

For instance, counselors may be called in to specific units that recently experienced the loss of a patient or coworker, or to discuss chronic stress.

Additionally, when traumatic or stressful events occur in Michigan Medicine or in the world, the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience partners with others to offer community sessions and support, where Michigan Medicine workforce members can come together to share their thoughts and concerns.

“It’s moments like that when our faculty and staff need us most,” Stratton said. “It’s imperative that we step up and meet people wherever they may be so that they can get the help and support they need and deserve.”

Finally, the office acts in partnership with others across the organization — and the university at large — to provide guidance on program development and strategic priorities. For example, the office partners with the Michigan Medicine Wellness Office, the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion and MHealthy to support well-being initiatives.

“In the recent Employee Engagement Survey, burnout was highlighted as a concern,” Stratton said. “So we made a commitment to work with others to address burnout and enhance well-being at an individual and organizational level.”

While such work is still underway, stay tuned to Headlines in the months and years ahead for updates.

What you need to know

As previously mentioned, all services provided by the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience are available at no cost to faculty and staff — they are considered part of the U-M benefits package.

On top of that, faculty and staff should be aware that the office will go to great lengths to protect privacy.

“Confidentiality is a highly-held value for us,” Robertson said. “Our team provides compassionate, confidential spaces to discuss whatever shows up in work or life.”

In the end, it’s all about providing the right type of support at the right time for employees.

“Giving care is a deeply human service,” Robertson said. “We help Michigan Medicine heal.”

If you’d like support from the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience, click here or call 734-763-5409.