SOAR Program Offers Confidential Peer Support for Employees Coping with Grief, Stress

Health care is a vital, rewarding field of work, but the job presents stressful moments that can take a toll on a health care worker’s mental and emotional health.

UK HealthCare’s Supporting One Another to Rise (SOAR) is a team of peers trained in crisis support and stress management who provide free supportive care and resources for employees who have gone through an emotionally traumatic event.

The team includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, and other volunteers who are selected for their high level of competence and commitment to serve others.

Rev. Joe Alverson, director of pastoral care, coordinates the SOAR program. Rev. Stephen Summers, staff chaplain, assists with planning, interviewing potential peer supporters, and facilitating the peer supporter training. Summers also is a peer supporter himself.

“One of the most profound ways I have seen the SOAR program help those who have experienced workplace trauma is in reminding them that they are not alone,” Summers said.

An advantage of the SOAR program is its peer support model that connects participants with supporters who understand the health care field and the difficulties of the jobs. 

“Having someone who understands what you go through on a day-to-day basis, listen to you, and be there to support you is powerful,” Summers said.

SOAR ensures all information is confidential, thereby providing a safe zone to express thoughts and reactions openly and honestly to enhance the coping process. Peer supporters are well-trained and have a heart for service. They may make referrals to additional resources if appropriate.

If you are interested in speaking with a trained SOAR peer supporter, fill out the confidential encounter form, and the program coordinator will contact you with further information.

If you are interested in becoming a SOAR volunteer, fill out and submit the volunteer peer supporter form.

Contact 859-323-7627 (SOAR) or ukhcsoar@uky.edu for more information.