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Are you making use of your Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

As we continue with our third national lockdown, both inside and outside of work, the profile of mental health and wellbeing has never been higher.

Many people are working from home, and with schools closed, parents are forced to juggle their professional lives with childcare needs and homeschooling. Naturally, lots of people have found these additional pressures on family life to be difficult to balance.

Some people are also reeling from the financial impact of COVID-19, with working hours reduced and increasing numbers facing furlough once again. It’s not surprising that many of us are finding it difficult to cope.

Sometimes all it takes to relieve stress is to talk to someone about your worries or frustrations. An EAP, commonly one of the most overlooked yet valuable benefits offered, allows you to talk with a qualified counsellor confidentially to help you deal with life’s stresses and strains.

As we continue to live in an uncertain world, here are some reasons why you should be taking advantage of your EAP.

There are a number of ways you can get support

Most EAP services provide practical support including an assessment, short-term counselling and referral services for you and your immediate family where medically appropriate.

This can help you overcome personal issues, whether these are work or non-work related. Basically, you can discuss anything that is worrying you and having an adverse impact on your health and wellbeing.

The good news is that how you access this support is up to you, with the following being typical:

  • Telephone helpline (open 24/7) – You never know when you are going to need help and this provides proactive support via confidential, expert advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Telephone counselling – Counselling services over the phone can help you manage life-stressors of all kinds, providing you with strategies to cope or simply someone to share the problem with.
  • Face-to-face counselling – Prefer to chat in person? You can discuss your problems through a number of in-person sessions with qualified counsellors. Due to current restrictions, these are currently being conducted via video link in most cases. This gives you the opportunity to meet someone face to face and at a time that is convenient for you.

Other practical help

People often consider an EAP as a mental health support service, but there is so much more typically available to help you. Given the pressures we are all under, it’s not just mental health support you may want or need.

Financial & legal Information

Many people have had their livelihoods affected by COVID-19 and the restrictions it has brought with it. Whilst furlough and support services have been introduced to provide financial support that we have never seen before, many people will still fall through the gaps and struggle. This aims to provide practical guidance on support that might be available to you. It could put you in touch with financial and debt information specialists, who can help you with managing late payments and many other areas too.

Support your general wellbeing

You don’t have to wait for an issue to arise before utilising your EAP. Additional wellbeing information and support is often available covering a wide range of subjects such as health and nutrition, fitness and exercise, and how to gain a better nights sleep.

It is completely confidential

Your employer will not know if you have used your EAP and you can be sure that anything you say will be treated in the strictest confidence so will not be reported back to your employer or manager. The only information that your employer will typically gain is about how many people have used it and what kind of help they were seeking.

Discuss a range of topics

Here are some examples of topics you may wish to discuss with your EAP:

  • Stress, anxiety and low mood
  • Work issues
  • Family and marriage
  • Bereavement
  • Trauma
  • Financial Wellbeing
  • Money management and debt
  • Relationships
  • Tax information
  • Health and lifestyle advice
  • Legal rights

Professionally beneficial

Your health and wellbeing is important and more employers are now making the link between taking care of their people and taking care of their business.

When you have proactive, caring support on your side, your wellbeing is enhanced, which means you are more likely to be able to cope with life’s ups and downs. This can help you stay focused on your duties at work and may also mean that you need to take less time off work.

An EAP really is a win-win solution for you and your employer – it really does pay to keep you happy!

Your EAP is there to help you if you need support on how to handle stress at work, or other issues you may be faced with. Any benefit that can help you manage and reduce anxiety, stress and worry is a positive for you and your family. Seeking or requesting help is not a sign of weakness and is a positive step in the right direction.

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