COMPASS helps you find peer support

September 22, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

The past 18 months have proven that Michigan Medicine continues to trailblaze a path for the future even when faced with difficult challenges. Employees across the organization have truly exemplified why we are “Leaders and Best.” It is now more important than ever to provide care, support and recognition of the emotional and physical demands of the health care environment.

Many of our colleagues are faced with difficult situations in their daily work life. However, some may not know how to reach out for additional support, or they may not feel comfortable talking with a colleague or a manager about stress or work-related issues. We can all use extra support at times, and social connection is a key way to support well-being and resilience. 

Michigan Medicine now offers the Compassionate Peers and Stress Support (COMPASS) Peer Support Network for all faculty, staff and house officers. Peer supporters can talk with you about experiences with patient care, including unexpected outcomes, medical errors or malpractice allegations. Peer support can be helpful to discuss stress, burnout, pandemic challenges or work-life related concerns.

Understanding the role of the Peer Support Network

Stressful events can result in a range of experiences, including changes in mood, thinking, physical health or coping behaviors. These responses are natural. The Peer Support Network is specifically designed to provide additional support to help an individual reconnect to sources of strength and coping during challenging times.

The peer supporter will offer opportunities to meet for conversation, support and referrals to additional resources, as needed. The program and all conversations are strictly confidential. 

“We understand that it can be difficult to talk about work-related challenges, especially after medical errors or the loss of a patient,” said Kelcey Stratton, clinical psychologist and program manager for Resilience and Well-Being Services in the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. “The COMPASS program supports our faculty and staff during these types of tough situations by making it easy to connect with a compassionate peer. Sometimes, you just want to talk with a trusted colleague who really ‘gets it’ — someone who understands the work and can be there for you in a difficult time.” 

This program is available for all teams and areas within Michigan Medicine — whether clinical or non-clinical. All peer supporters are trained in emotional support skills and can offer referrals to more information and resources. Peer support is not counseling or professional support — it is designed to offer colleague-to-colleague social support and information.

Peer supporters can: 

  • Talk with you about experiences with patient care, including unexpected outcomes, medical errors or malpractice allegations. 
  • Discuss stress and burnout, challenges associated with the pandemic, work-life balance or any other work-related concerns. 

Bring peer support to your team

Peer supporters are trained upon request in departments, units and teams. To date, about 150 volunteer peer supporters have been trained from 14 different areas.

Typically, peers offer support to colleagues in their area. Department and team leaders play an important role in supporting the program and creating opportunities for team members to connect.

To participate in the Peer Support Network and train peer supporters in your area, please contact the Peer Support Coordination Team by emailing

“Peer support creates new ways to care for each other, build a sense of belonging and recognize the emotional impact of working in health care,” said Stratton. “This program is one piece of our workplace well-being strategy and we want people to know there is help.”

The COMPASS Peer Support Network is supported in partnership with the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience and the office of Patient Relations & Clinical Risk. For additional information, please visit or email

A brief video describing the program was funded by a Wellness Office grant awarded to Ruby Marr, M.D., who is a trained peer supporter from the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Additional resources

For more information on counseling, stress and crisis support, mental health information and resources please contact the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. Phone: 734-763-5409, email:

The Michigan Medicine Wellness Office provides information, resources and updates regarding mental and emotional well-being.