An Employee Assistance Program (more commonly known as EAP) is a confidential support service that is often tied to a group benefits program. These programs offer a range of support and counselling services to help employees deal with work or life-related stressors.
What Is The Benefit Of Offering An EAP?
It’s no secret that happy and healthy employees are more productive and more present in the work place both mentally and physically. While that sentiment typically applies to physical health, mental health is also a strong determinant in regard to employee productivity.
The services provided through an EAP can give employees and family members a safe and confidential place to get assistance with a wide range of work and personal problems. Support topics include:
- Mental health issues including depression, anxiety, anger management, etc.
- Support for drug addiction and substance abuse problems
- Workplace conflicts including coaching on how to work with a difficult co-worker and having crucial conversations
- Health and caregiving issues such as elder support or transitioning back to work after a disability claim
- Grief counselling for an employee who has lost a loved one or experienced a trauma
- Legal and family counselling for martial or child custody issues
- Financial counselling to support an employee in paying down debt or navigating bankruptcy
How Does An EAP Work?
This may vary depending on what your program offers, however, most EAPs include a standard number of sessions (or hours of service) for an employee to use in a calendar year. These sessions are completely confidential, and the employee will not be billed for the sessions. This type of program doesn’t support long-term counselling but can be a first step in getting additional support. EAP’s can also be expanded to offer group counselling services. For example, the death of a co-worker can be a traumatic event. It goes a long way in those difficult situations if the employer can surround the team with support in a controlled, professional and open/team environment.
Regardless of the reason for reaching out, an EAP can be a valuable resource for an employee who is struggling and simply needs a bit of support.