Faculty Staff Assistance Program

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The Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) is an assessment, referral, coaching, consultation and short-term counseling service available to all full and part-time employees of the University of Maryland.  Since 1988, we have worked with thousands of employees to address a variety of work-related conflicts and personal issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship and family conflicts, as well as medical, legal and financial concerns.

Tips on Coping in the Aftermath of Traumatic Events

Collective Healing After Traumatic Events

The tragic death of a student on campus this week has been a shocking, and deeply disturbing experience for our community. This event coupled with the ongoing traumatic events in the world can all become overwhelming. These events are taxing to our wellbeing and can trigger so many complex emotions. Some may be experiencing changes with energy, inability to focus, feeling numb, detached, and empty, or be unable to accept what has happened. Depending on how close you were to the event, your symptoms may be more intense than others. Please know that all of what you feel is NORMAL and the results of experiencing a traumatic event.

In the days to come, please allow yourself to feel and express your emotions. You may be struggling with the thoughts that it is better to hold yourself together alone, continue normal routines and avoid experiencing your emotions! This is not healthy and will only delay healing and deepen your pain. If are struggling to cope, it’s important to seek help and make the healing changes that will allow you in this time of distress.

Facing the trauma that we experience as a community can be intense; but if we can learn to ask for help, we also learn to understand our resilience and healing power as a community. The team at the faculty and assistance program is here to support you if you are struggling to cope. We are offering individual and organizational support as needed. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (301) 314-8014 or (301) 317-8099 to arrange a consultation for personal or organizational needs.

Here are a few practical tips to help you as you heal:

  • Ask for help- As stated above, death is painful and leaves an emotional impact that is sometimes indescribable. Stay honest about what you are feeling and or experiencing and make use of the campus community. Learn about all the resources on campus available for you and ask for help.
  • Take care of yourself- Be mindful of your body. Eat, Sleep, Rest and Hydrate. As simple as this sounds, it is imperative that we remember to eat and care for ourselves with basic care necessities.
  • Practice self-compassion- No harsh critical judgments! You matter and your feelings are valid. Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend having a hard time. Negative self-talk with a critical analysis of yourself in this experience will not aid in fostering a sense of hope.
  • Take Breaks- Honor yourself with the breaks needed to simply breathe and re-group.
  • Connect with your community- Stay honest about what you feel and connect in the community to create safe checks ins and healing spaces!

We are all in this together! One day, one step, one tear at a time, WE WILL HEAL!

In Wellness,
Dr. Tonya C. Phillips
Program Manager- Faculty Staff and Assistance Program


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More About the Faculty Staff Assistance Program

Meet Dr. Tonya Phillips (Counselor & Program Manager)

Dr. Phillips, PhD, LCSW-C,LCADC

Dr. Tonya C. Phillips is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug counselor with specialty areas in substance use disorders, trauma and organizational employee work/life balance. Her clinical work and research is focused on clinical intervention and employee wellbeing from an organizational context. Dr. Phillips has spent the past 15 years working with the Department of Defense where she provided administrative oversite, clinical consultation serving as mental health subject matter expert, as well as short term solutions focused couple, individual, and group psychotherapy services for employees in national security designated sensitive positions. Dr Phillips is a published author and has a private practice providing trauma informed care to uniformed personnel and professional continuing education services. She has developed training curriculums and trauma related training to a host of organizations.

Dr. Phillips completed her undergrad and co-terminal Master’s degrees in Social Work at University Of Maryland (Employee Assistance Programing Concentration) and her doctoral work at Morgan State University.

Contact Dr. Phillips

Meet Tania DeBarros (Counselor)

Tania DeBarros, LCSW-C

Tania DeBarros is a licensed clinical social worker and mental health advocate, who specializes in person-centered and trauma-informed care for all adults. Previously, she has served as Community Residence Director helping residents with co-occurring disorders achieve their treatment goals and reintegrate into their community. Prior to serving as Community Residence Director, Tania served in a dual role as both a clinician for a community health center and clinician for a neighborhood trauma team with the Boston Public Health Commission, a role in which she developed many clinical skills . In her role with the Neighborhood Trauma Team, Tania participated in community outreach, provided crisis management, collaborated with many providers throughout the city, and provided support to trauma survivors and families who lost loved ones to community violence. Tania also has experience working with those who have schizophrenia and other psychosis related diagnoses.

Tania is originally from Boston, Massachusetts where she earned her B.A. in Child Development from Tufts University. She later earned her M.S.W. from New York University with a focus in Evidence Based Practices for Adults with Serious Mental Illness. She is passionate about working with her community, providing psychoeducation and workshops related to mental health and eradicating mental health stigma.

Contact Tania DeBarros

About the Faculty Staff Assistance Program

Text Graphic "FSAP Faculty Staff Assistance Program"The Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) has been in existence on the College Park campus since 1984. The FSAP became a full-time program in 1988 and since then we have seen over 5,000 employees (including hundreds of their family members) for a variety of problem areas, including job difficulties; alcohol and drug problems; marital and family problems; emotional distress (anxiety, depression, stress-related disorders, etc.); legal, financial and a variety of other concerns.

The FSAP is available to meet with all full and part-time employees for assessment, referral and in many instances, short-term counseling services at no cost. Employees tend to use the program for an average of three visits, although we are able to work with employees for up to 10 sessions. When referrals are made, attention is paid to the employee's ability to afford such services, the location of the provider and the provider's area of expertise. We also help employees weave their way through the maze of managed care and insurance providers, ensuring that you receive the best services available. In many cases when an employee cannot afford to seek help outside of the University, the FSAP will often provide the service here on campus.

We are aware of the sensitive nature of all communications with employees and are extremely careful about honoring every employee's right to confidentiality. We understand that no one would use the FSAP if they did not trust that the information shared with the counselors stayed in our offices and we work hard to assure employees that this trust will remain. In cases where communications need to be shared with a supervisor, they can only occur if an employee signs a consent form, specifically stating what information can be shared, with whom, and for how long a period of time.

We are also available to consult with supervisors & department heads regarding how to best handle a difficult employee or a difficult situation at work. Guidance is provided on how to best refer an employee to the FSAP, with an emphasis on early intervention and attention to the problems. Coaching is also provided to managers on how they can best work with their employees. This approach is one that usually is successful in allowing departments to hang on to valued faculty and staff. 

FSAP Counselors are also available to provide presentations on a variety of topics including Managing Stress; Supervising the Hard to Reach Employee; Negotiating Conflict; Coping with Change; Interventions for Substance Abusing Employees and Family Members; Building Boundaries and Saying No.. Counselors are also available to meet with departments for a debriefing following a death or other traumatic event.

Mental Wellness

Brief Articles to Get You Started


FSAP is no longer able to give emergency loans. Click here for some good ideas and resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that could be helpful with financial emergencies.