Probably you’ve already been in a situation where someone you care about, maybe a family member, a friend or a colleague has been going through a difficult time. You’d really like to help, but you don’t really know how. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is encourage them to access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) so a professional counsellor can help.
It can be a tricky conversation to have and that’s because it can be a sensitive topic for some people and the way you approach it varies depending on your relationship with that person and how open you think they will be to your suggestion.
The single best way to encourage someone to access the EAP is the share an experience you have had with an EAP. This only works if you’ve had one and if you are comfortable sharing it. Tell them about your experience; was it easy to make an appointment? Did the counsellor help? Was it as confidential as everyone says?
If you don’t have a personal experience you’ll need to talk more generally about the EAP. An EAP is a short term, voluntary, and confidential counselling service that is paid for by your employer. It is accessible in many cases by immediate family members too.
Some people worry about being a bother (no issue is too big or too small) or they worry that EAP won’t help.You might like to remind them that EAP counsellors are experts who talk to hundreds of people experiencing similar concerns. We talk to people about any issue you can think of and probably many issues you can’t think of. It’s what we do.
Some people like to plan the way they’ll start the conversation, knowing that once they’ve gotten started they will be able to figure it out from there. A good way to start the conversation is to share an observation or a concern: “I’m worried that you haven’t been yourself lately”; or “I’ve noticed that you have been distracted lately”. When you come from a place of genuine concern it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the words quite right.
Understand the service
There might be questions about the service. The most common ones are around confidentiality; so be sure to reassure them that nobody will find out if they’ve accessed the service unless they tell them. We will explain this more completely in their first session or they can call and discuss their concern.
Others want to know about the counsellors, all our counsellors are psychologists and social workers so they are in good hands. The most common feedback we get is that people are surprised by how much EAP counselling has helped them. It’s more than just talking.
How can you reach us?
Most people come to one of our many offices (we have too many to list here); but we also provide counselling by secure on line video link and by telephone.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help please call 1800 629 277 in Australia and 0800 327 669 in New Zealand. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.