What Is an Employee Assistance Program?

What Is an Employee Assistance Program?

As understanding of the effects of stress and psychological health continues to improve in the mental health field, many employers now offer various forms of counseling as one of their employee benefits. Alongside traditional health care (which often includes inpatient mental health care), these Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can help workers deal with a wide range of issues, including the following:

  • Substance abuse (addiction)
  • Stress
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Workplace or occupational stress
  • Marriage problems
  • Financial counseling
  • Emotional disorders
  • Depression
  • Aging issues
  • Physical wellness counseling

These services are often offered at no charge to the employee and counselors retain strict confidentiality regarding anything the employee shares. These services are also usually available to spouses and dependent children. Unfortunately, many employees do not take advantage of these services either because they do not fully understand what they have to offer, or they fear some sort of workplace stigma that may follow them if they seek help for one of these issues. Some fear losing their job if their boss found out that they have an addiction issue. Between the confidentiality and the range of services offered, however, EAPs can be an invaluable resource for both the employee and the employer.

Counseling Is Valuable

There is much more to counseling than many people realize. At its core, all of the various forms of counseling are essentially forms of coaching. While coaching is universally respected in athletics, however, the same kind of objective, evidence-based, life coaching offered by therapists is often dismissed as emotional mumbo-jumbo. The way counseling is often depicted on film and television doesn’t help. The truth is that great strides have been made in psychologists’ understanding about how the brain works and how adjustments in perspective, distress tolerance, and self-awareness can positively impact mental health. Modern counseling is a powerful, and empowering, tool for overall wellness, health, and both professional and interpersonal effectiveness. Like a professional basketball player leaning on coaches to constantly improve his skills on the court, millions of smart business leaders and workers find real value in ongoing help from specially trained counselors.

Employee Assistance and Job Security

An issue like substance abuse can destroy a person’s professional and personal life long before it actually kills him. Many addicts try to manage or hide their disorder until it is so well established and deeply rooted that it changes their entire perspective and understanding. Most addicts believe they are dealing with their need for drugs or alcohol much better than they actually are. As their disorder progresses these workers become increasingly unreliable, unhealthy, or even abusive to other employees. Simply put, debilitating emotional disorders such as addiction are a sure-fire way to lose your job. By seeking help through an Employee Assistance Program, however, you will have a chance to recover from your chemical dependence without losing your job. By law you cannot be dismissed for seeking help from an EAP. You can, however, be dismissed for being late too often, missing work, performing poorly on the job, or using drugs or alcohol while on the job. The sooner you get help the more likely you will be to avoid that fate.

Understanding Your EAP

Would you benefit from an Employee Assistance Program? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you tried to stop drinking but failed?
  • Do you continue to engage in any behavior despite negative consequences?
  • Do you experience stress on a regular basis?
  • Are you constantly worried about financial issues?
  • Have you noticed significant differences in your eating or sleeping?
  • Have you had thoughts of suicide?
  • Do you feel emotionally numb?
  • Do you have wild mood swings or frequent emotional outbursts?
  • Is your marriage in trouble?
  • Do you have concerns about parenting issues?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions you may benefit from an EAP evaluation or consultation. Often these initial consults can be done anonymously over the phone.

Does your employer offer an EAP? Do you know what it covers? We can help you find out. Call our toll-free helpline any time of day or night for free, confidential assistance. We’ll start by talking with you about the challenges you face. Next we will confirm whether or not your insurance plan includes an Employee Assistance Program. If it does we will connect you directly with the best program for your specific needs.

If you do not have an EAP we can still help. Our staff members can help you find the best possible treatment and can connect you with every possible source of financial assistance. We will also advocate on your behalf with your employer to ensure that your job is waiting for you when your treatment is completed. Financial concerns should never keep you from getting the help you need. We’re here to do everything in our power to ensure that they don’t.

24 Hour Mental Health and Addiction Helpline for Employees

There are no strings attached when you call. You can remain as anonymous as you like. Whether you want more information about an Employee Assistance Program or other forms of addiction or mental health treatment, we can help. Don’t let job security concerns keep you from getting the treatment you deserve. We’re here for you at any hour of the night or day. Call now.