What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
Very simply an EAP is a program to help employees and their dependents. The program provides free, confidential, professional counseling to help employees and their dependents resolve personal problems that may affect their health, personal well-being or job performance. An EAP also is a tool for managers, supervisors, and co-workers to deal with employees whose job performance is deteriorating.
Why would my employer be concerned about my personal problems?
Many employers realize that on occasion employees may face personal problems. Often, they are able to work those problems out themselves. Yet there are times when personal problems become so complex and overwhelming that, without help, they affect personal satisfaction, health, family harmony and job performance. These problems can be resolved through professional help. Employers know that healthy, productive employees are its greatest asset.
What types of problems can the Employee Assistance Program handle?
No one is immune to personal problems. Life’s troubles can affect anyone, at any time, in any job classification. The Employee Assistance Program is committed to working with employees in resolving a wide range of personal problems. Areas covered by your EAP include:
- Marital and family problems—Employees, their spouse and eligible dependent children are eligible for assessment and counseling services.
- Legal consultation services—Help with finding answers to your legal questions.
- Financial/credit counseling—Assistance in managing existing credit card debt, including budget counseling and lowered interest rates.
- Emotional problems—Referrals for identification, treatment and counseling services for employees, their spouse and eligible dependent children.
- Alcohol and drug problems—Referrals for identification, treatment and counseling services for employees, their spouse and eligible dependent children.
- Psychological problems—Referrals for identification, treatment and counseling services for employees, their spouse and eligible dependent children.
- Eldercare—When caring for an aging parent(s), the "adult child" employee may need an objective way to assess the parent’s independent living capability. A licensed nurse will conduct a home visit to evaluate areas such as nutrition, mobility, health and safety. The nurse will then prepare a written report listing community resources available to address any needs that are identified.
- Identity theft—If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, a case manager will be assigned to notify the appropriate authorities on your behalf and will work to restore your credit rating.
- Online wellness education—Thousands of up-to-date articles are available at Online Work-Life Resources.
What does the service cost?
Services provided to you and your dependents by the EAP are free. Employees and dependents may receive a predetermined number of sessions for problem assessment, consultation and counseling at no cost. The EAP counselor will strive to arrange help in the most cost effective and professional manner to meet your needs.
Will my employer know who uses the program?
No, not unless you authorize the EAP counselor to talk to him/her. The program is voluntary and completely confidential. Job security and promotional opportunities will not be jeopardized or enhanced solely because of participation in the program. Periodic reports will be given to your employer on the number of employees using the program. No names or other identifying information will be included in this report.
All of the clinicians at Memorial Employee Assistance Services work within strict codes of professional ethics and we pride ourselves on our success in maintaining employee confidentiality in all aspects of the EAP process. It is important to note that state or federal law may require the disclosure of information (regardless of user permission) when the counselor suspects physical or sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult, when there is a threat of harm to oneself or another, or when a court order is issued.
Are the EAP counselors qualified?
All EAP counselors are experienced professionals qualified at the master’s and doctorate level in the fields of counseling, clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy and clinical social work. Many counselors have areas of specialization, such as treating children or adolescents, couples therapy, addictive disorders, anxiety or depression, as well as employee assistance. A credit counselor is also available to assist in the counseling/referral process.
Who can use the EAP?
The EAP is available to employees and their dependents. Employees and family members may contact Memorial Employee Assistance Services by calling 1-888-817-8989. Dependents include spouse and eligible children up to 25 years of age.
How will the EAP counselor work with me?
The counselor will listen to what you have to say, help you clearly define the problem, discuss alternative solutions and help you decide on the best approach to resolving your problem. If your problem cannot be adequately resolved in your predetermined number of sessions, the EAP counselor will offer you an appropriate referral.
What if I need more counseling or services than the EAP can offer?
If you need a referral to another professional or community resource, the EAP counselor will explain how that referral works. If that referral involves any cost to you, that will be explained. If the referral involves use of your healthcare benefits, that will be discussed before you leave the EAP office.
Where do I meet with an EAP counselor?
Because Memorial Employee Assistance Services serves several employers with multiple locations, we contract with qualified "EAP affiliates" to provide counseling/referral services in geographic locations where we do not have our own staff. For select locations, MEAS operates a "staff model" where counselors are employees of Memorial Employee Assistance Services. If you are located in Central Illinois, you will have convenient access to one of our counseling staff. If you live or work outside of this area, an intake counselor will connect you with one of our EAP affiliates. Our current network of EAP affiliates includes agreements with more than 600 counselors throughout the United States. Regardless of where you live or work, MEAS will ensure a strong standard of access to a professional counselor.
How do I use the Employee Assistance Program?
You may call MEAS (888-817-8989) and request information or an appointment. The EAP counselor will then answer your questions and schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible. Daytime and evening appointments are available to accommodate your work schedule.
What can I expect during my first appointment?
Together with the EAP clinician, you will review your presenting and related problems, as well as discuss possible solutions, taking into account your strengths, coping skills, and motivation for change. The following will also be done during the initial assessment:
- A review of client rights, EAP services, and confidentiality;
- An evaluation of any high-risk factors, such as substance abuse, suicide potential, and domestic violence;
- A determination whether your concerns can be handled with short-term counseling within the EAP, or whether a referral beyond the EAP is indicated; and
- A solution-focused action plan that addresses your concerns and resolves issues that may disrupt your life or work performance.
- Arrange for a second appointment or facilitate a referral to a provider covered under your medical plan benefit or other community resource.
If you are uncomfortable or not compatible with the assigned EAP counselor, you can contact the MEAS Intake Department at 888-817-8989 and request a change of counselor. All requests will be handled in a sensitive manner.
Remember, there is no cost to you, your spouse or eligible dependent children for EAP visits.
What is "short-term" counseling within the EAP?
Short-term counseling within the EAP is most appropriate in situations of a "non-chronic" nature, primarily problems in living (e.g. marital distress, parenting concerns, mild anxiety, etc.). These problems in living are amenable to change within a course of counseling that is characterized by a specific focus, contracting for change, a planned number of sessions, and a counselor who may be somewhat strategic or directive in choice of interventions. Disorders such as clinical depression, eating disorders or chemical dependency are usually not appropriate for short-term counseling within the EAP and frequently require medical intervention or specialized treatment in a group setting.
Our research suggests that about 50 percent of all cases can be effectively resolved within a one- to six-session model EAP. The remaining 50 percent are usually offered a referral outside of the EAP to a specialized practitioner, treatment program, or community resource.