Meet Juawice McCormick, UM’s New Employee Assistance Program Counselor

Counseling offered to employees experiencing challenging work, life-related situations

Jauwice McCormick

OXFORD, Miss. – Juawice McCormick is the University of Mississippi’s new Employee Assistance Program counselor, and she offers those who seek her out a safe place to talk and find a path toward healing.

McCormick, who has more than 25 years of experience in the private sector and higher education, joined the University Counseling Center as assistant director in August. She comes to Ole Miss from the University of Southern Mississippi.

At UM, she serves as a resource for employees who need counseling services. She sees her role as helping employees take steps to address the issues they face.

“My office is safe place for anybody who wants to come in and talk about what their concerns are,” she said. “We don’t solve people’s problems for them, but we listen and support them.

“We try to help people work through their issues because only they know what their life is and what the solution or path toward healing might be. We hold the lantern along the way.”

McCormick holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Delta State University, and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, a specialist degree in counseling and a doctorate in counselor education and supervision, all from Mississippi State University. She is a licensed professional counselor and is former chair of the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors.

The UM Employee Assistance-Mental Health Program is a confidential service provided for all administration, faculty and staff members. It’s a short-term program for employees who are experiencing challenging work or life-related situations and might benefit from speaking to a counselor in an individual session.

Common topics include stress related to work or home, interpersonal difficulties or barriers to work productivity.

During a calendar year, employees can receive up to four consultations, with the first being free and the remaining three costing $30 per session, which are billed through payroll deduction. Appointments can be made by calling the UCC at 662-915-3784.

Though there is individual counseling for employees, McCormick said she hopes to expand services to include support or educational groups for faculty and staff. She also will work with outreach programs about the services offered through the University Counseling Center.

She can provide counseling not only for anxiety and depression, but for many other challenges adults commonly face.

“We have many faculty and staff on campus who are caregivers for perhaps elderly parents, or even partners or spouses and children,” McCormick said. “That brings with it extra stress on top of working a full-time job.

“Sometimes people have difficulties at work. We talk about those things, just the regular problems that all humans have, and we try to support people, help them and listen to them so they feel better.”

Signs that indicate someone should speak to a counselor appear in several forms, she said.

“Other people become worried about you and may want to speak to you and tell you that you need some support outside of your friends,” McCormick said. “A supervisor or someone else may be concerned about what may be perceived as changes in your behavior, or you may become less engaged at work or experience family difficulties.

“A counselor can provide you with support you don’t get from a best friend, a partner or spouse and listen in a nonjudgmental way and really hear you.”

The university community is fortunate to have McCormick on campus, said Bud Edwards, Counseling Center director.

“Dr. McCormick brings a wealth of experience as a clinician, a faculty member, a trainer of applied mental health and a number of years in higher education in Mississippi,” Edwards said. “We are very excited to have her at the UCC.”