EAP…One of the most misunderstood resources you might be missing out on

Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, have been around since the 1950s and to this day remain one of the most underutilized resources provided by employers.  EAPs began out of a need to address alcohol related issues in the workplace but today’s EAP programs are so much more.  Today, EAPs address not only substance use and abuse but also behavioral and mental health, wellness promotion, and life event management.  EAP services are delivered at no cost to employees and all household members by via phone, video-based counseling, online chatting, email or face-to-face.  Services are completely confidential which means that no one, not your supervisor, manager or human resources team will know that you have accessed the service.   

EAP can help you with so much….addiction, anxiety and depression, eating disorders, grief and loss, violence, abuse and trauma, divorce and child custody, interpersonal relationships, sexual health, special needs resources, child and elder care, parenting support, pet care, stress and coping, adoption and new parent support, educational information and services, legal referral, debt and bankruptcy, identity theft, insurance resources, renter and landlord rights, personal injury, real estate, taxes and audits, wills and estates, budgeting resources, banking and credit, investing and taxes.  Phew….can you believe you can get access to all of that for free with just one click or phone call?

In a previous position, I used EAP and it was incredibly helpful.  It was my first time in a supervisory role and I was supervising a group of eight employees who had previously been my coworkers.  I was much younger and less experienced with the work which only made my situation more challenging.  I had two employees who were very difficult for me to work with and supervise.  I was feeling overwhelmed and was really starting to doubt my abilities to lead these two people.   I contacted my EAP and they set me up with a coach.  Over the next few months my coach worked with me to help me become a more proficient and confident supervisor.  My relationships with the two employees improved significantly and because of that my team was more successful and saw me as more competent.  Even though that was quite a few years ago, those skills have stayed with me and have made a difference in how I lead today. 

Two reasons people don’t use EAP is that they are concerned about confidentiality and they’re concerned about cost so let me set the record straight.  You don’t need to get permission from your supervisor or from HR to access EAP and there are actually laws that protect your confidentiality. Legally, there aren’t any reports that come back to your organization and the services are completely free…yes, you read that right….free, not even a copay.  

To find out more about EAP at your school, just click on your school’s name below.  If you’ve got something going on that you think EAP might be able to help you with, contact them today.  Don’t wait.  Let EAP support you to be able to bring your best self to life and to work every day. 

Champlain College

Middlebury College

Norwich University

St. Michael’s College