ValueOptions Logo February 2006
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What Your EAP Can Do For You

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are one of the most effective ways to identify and address personal problems. Companies utilize EAPs because it makes good business sense—healthier, happier employees are more productive and reliable. In this way, EAPs enhance and enrich the organization by promoting the health and well-being of all employees and their families.

How do EAPs work?

EAPs are confidential, multifaceted counseling, education and referral programs designed to help with personal problems, particularly those that affect job performance, including:

  • stress
  • parenting problems
  • adolescent behavioral problems or substance abuse
  • marital difficulties
  • financial trouble
  • substance abuse
  • coping with an accident or trauma
  • depression and the blues
  • anxiety
  • grief and loss
  • legal problems
  • caregiving issues
  • life phase adjustment:
    • early adult
    • midlife including caring for aging parents
    • retirement

Most EAPs offer a range of services including:

Education. After the emotionally charged events of Sept. 11, 2001 , many Americans experienced a sense of worry, fear and sadness they had never encountered. EAPs were available to provide education about trauma and disaster and discuss coping strategies. EAPs commonly provide education and prevention programs on stress, substance abuse and illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

Individual assessment. Whether it’s stress at home or on the job or concerns about a family member, EAP counselors are available to provide confidential screening, assessment and support at no cost to you or your family. By addressing problems early, the EAP can help prevent small problems from becoming overwhelming, costly and destructive. In addition to listening and talking about a problem, EAPs will often use a short paper and pencil test to help identify and clarify symptoms of particular problems such as depression or anxiety. This enables the EAP to accurately assess the problem and provide the help that is indicated.

Short-term counseling. Many stress-related problems or concerns about a loved one do not require long-term counseling. We have all been overwhelmed and overloaded and in need of someone objective to talk with. The EAP is designed to provide short-term counseling, to simply listen, assist in problem solving, or identify new ways to cope with common, but sometimes painful problems. In general EAPs have expertise in stress reduction counseling, crisis and conflict resolution and substance abuse. 

Referral. It is difficult to know where to turn when personal problems arise. The EAP keeps abreast of the best providers in your area. For example, if a child is exhibiting behavioral or learning problems, a specialist in child psychology would be needed. The EAP can facilitate this referral and guide the family through the treatment process—saving time and headaches. 

Support. With some problems there are no quick fixes. Individuals recovering from alcoholism, depression or the loss of a loved one may require ongoing supportive counseling with the EAP or designated professional. The EAPs work with the employee to develop and coordinate a support plan.

Remember that there are no problems too big or small for the EAP.

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