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RCORP - Rural Center of Excellence on SUD Prevention


Signpost positing opposite directions labeled "stress" and "relax"

Supporting Staff Wellness


For organizations working to address the opioid crisis, staff wellness initiatives offer a range of benefits, including:

  • Helping staff feel supported & connected
  • Addressing stress, fatigue & burnout
  • Enabling staff to provide better care to patients
  • Creating opportunities for creativity & camaraderie
  • Supporting staff retention

These initiatives—which staff can participate in as they work remotely with one another—are all the more important during COVID-19. Below are tips for program leaders and team members on promoting wellness, as well as resources to support the behavioral health of staff.


Leaders: Learning & connecting



Research & preparation


Gather behavioral health resources from agencies & organizations.

Reading may include: 

Research pre-existing wellness programs in the region or health system.



Survey staff to learn about levels of stress, wellness, burnout.

Anonymous input


  • Analysis
  • Action plan


Hold one-on-one meetings, with self-care built into the outline for supervision notes:

  • What are you doing in terms of self-care?

Check-in at group meetings:

  • How are you doing?
  • How are you coping?

E-newsletter focused on wellness

Highlight shared sense of purpose



Dedicate time at staff meetings to recognizing colleagues' contributions.

Reduce meeting fatigue by ending 60-minute meetings 10-15 minutes early.

Choose virtual backgrounds that set a relaxing tone.


Team members: Incorporating relaxation & fun



Relaxation time



  • 15-30 minute session led by staff with training and interest

Wellness room

  • With comfy chairs, music, battery-operated candles, etc.


Break the routine

  • Music
  • Games
  • Enjoying the outdoors

Special occasions

  • Cultural celebrations
  • Holiday gatherings


Fun committee

  • To plan activities, with no one person carrying the load

Fun Fridays

  • Themed days (sports jersey day)
  • Jeans days (with small donation to a cause)


Resources to support behavioral health during COVID-19

Staff wellness, stress relief, burnout, mental health, supporting staff