FSAP offers work-life support to employees

FSAP offers work-life support to employees

By Life@TheU

FSAP offers work-life support to employees

By Life@TheU
Experts from the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program provide advice and resources to help employees adapt to challenging circumstances and find emotional well-being.

Managing work and life under new circumstances can present challenges and stresses, especially for our colleagues on the front lines. At the University of Miami, employees have access to a variety of virtual resources for mental and emotional health support. The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) continues to host webinars, conduct consultations, provide referral services, and supply expert advice to support employees in every role. 

We spoke with FSAP director, Orlando Gonzalez, to better understand how employees can bolster mental and emotional well-being and explore the resources that are available to the University community.

What are some of the biggest mental health hurdles that employees continue to face during this time? 
It depends on the employee’s role and their day-to-day function. Frontline health care workers are grappling with the exhausting stress of responding within an environment that is challenged in many ways. Managing fears and concerns for their own health and the health of their families while accomplishing their professional duty is a hurdle that many find ways to weather with grace. Still, the duties they perform are draining in every way—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Individuals not working on the front lines face lower forms of stress that can still become debilitating. Many employees struggle with the stress that comes with expecting that we should be as functional as we were pre-pandemic. It is common to feel a loss of control and to deny ourselves the time we need to rest. It is not business as usual. Therefore, it becomes important to acknowledge where we are, take inventory of what we have available to us for coping, and make time to pace ourselves as we navigate the unknown together.

What is one thing that managers can do to support the well-being of their teams?
The greatest challenge to managing remotely is maintaining some degree of connection with teams. This goes beyond simply collecting performance data or seeing to it that they are on top of things. Remaining connected means that we understand what is going on in the lives of our employees, and we touch base frequently to offer them our feedback on how well they are doing. During this time, it is appropriate to ask people how they are weathering the challenges of working from home and to offer support if they need assistance with any work-related struggles. If you notice a direct report is struggling in some way, remind them that resources, including FSAP, are available. That connection may be the support they need to take that next step and reach out for help.

Can you share a calming strategy or proactive coping method that can be implemented while working remotely?
The ones that work for me involve getting my head into a different “space.” It can be helpful to step away from the noise and confusion that contributed to our stress. Something as simple as listening to music can often help shift our mood. Closing our eyes and listening to a guided meditation can allow the mind to enter a different space. A simple walk around the block might be just what we need to soften our discomfort and it can also create breathing room to broaden our mindset.

What are some of the things that continue to help you get through each day?
The kindness and support of others. I am always humbled by the grace with which some people move through adversity. There are many brave and generous individuals who are inspiring me. Amid the backdrop of a pandemic in a culture of self-serving self-indulgence, it helps me get through the day to know there are courageous and caring individuals out there willing to make personal sacrifices for their community and the common good.

What additional resources are available for employees who need support during this time?  
The FSAP team is available to virtually meet with University employees, family members who are considered to be dependents, or those who live in the same household, to provide consultation and referral services. Managers may also call our offices for consultation or to arrange health and wellness webinars for their teams, where our experts can answer questions about our services. 

  • Tune in: The next FSAP wellness webinar, Balancing Work from Home with Kids, will be hosted on Thursday, April 30, at noon and 6 p.m.
  • Contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program: 305-284-6604 or visit miami.edu/fsap.

Additional resources:

  • The University’s behavioral health panel, Carisk Behavioral Health, is available 24/7 to assist in finding mental health providers or treatment facilities that accept the University’s insurance and who conduct visits via telehealth portals. Contact Carisk Behavioral Health at 1-800-294-8642.
  • Aetna Crisis Support Services is currently offering 24/7 support at 1-833-327-2386.
  • Employees may also call the tri-county helpline by dialing 211 for 24/7 support and community referral services.
  • Telehealth services for students are available at the Student Counseling Center.