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The Well-Being Advocate Program

Part of Rackham’s Graduate Student and Program Consultation Services office (GSPCS), the Well-Being Advocate Program works with faculty and staff in academic departments to provide support for graduate student mental health and well-being at the program level.

Our Services

The program offers three primary services facilitated by the Rackham Well-Being Advocate, a direct staff liaison to all participating academic departments:

Department Advocate Team

Commitment: One academic year

Description: A Department Advocate Team comprised of academic departmental faculty and/or staff will work with the Rackham Well-Being Advocate to:

  • Reflect on the strengths of the department, as well as identify opportunities for improvement, including programmatic and structural changes.
  • Select from a menu of intervention options, which can be tailored to the department’s needs.
  • Work together to implement and assess solutions.

Focused Advocacy

Commitment: one month to one academic term

Description: Tailored to address a specific short-term matter and/or need within an academic department, the Rackahm Well-Being Advocate provides mental health and well-being resources, information, support, and guidance to Rackham graduate program staff and faculty on an ad hoc basis.

Faculty/Staff Advocate

Commitment: one to two academic years

Description: Supported by the Rackham Well-Being Advocate, the Faculty/Staff Advocate may serve in multiple roles:

  • As a member of the department Advocate Team
  • As a point person for students seeking mental health and well-being resources, including disability accommodations.
  • As a resource and educator of well-being best practices, research, and data for other faculty within the department.

Our Approach

Based on a recommendation by the Rackham Graduate School Student Mental Health Task Force, Rackham Graduate School created the Well-Being Advocate Program and the Well-Being Advocate role to provide support for graduate student mental health and well-being at the graduate program level.

Because graduate student mental health and well-being can be supported at a variety of levels, from individual behaviors to departmental and institutional structures, the Well-Being Advocate Program utilizes four main themes to help guide the process of identifying issues within graduate programs that impact student-mental health and well-being outcomes:

  1. Practices that support well-being
  2. Building trust and initiating conversations
  3. Understanding student stressors and how those vary over the course of a Ph.D. and/or master’s program
  4. Departmental policies, practices, and structures

Well-Being Advocate Program Student Advisory Board

Working in consultation with the Rackham Well-Being Advocate, this student advisory board provides a forum and voice for student ideas, information, and concerns regarding student mental health and well-being within graduate programs.

Responsibilities of the Well-Being Advocate Program Advisory Board include:

  • Providing recommendations, advice, and feedback on current and future student well-being initiatives and programming within select graduate programs to the Rackham Well-Being Advocate program
  • Serving as a liaison between the Advocate Program and the Rackham Mental Health and Well-Being Committee

If you are interested in serving on the Advisory Group, please complete the application by January 12.


Interested in working with our Well-Being Advocate to create change in your academic department? Send us an email! We’d love to hear from you.