How to use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Published by: Patrick Williams,

An EAP is there to support you both at work and at home

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a service provided to you as a benefit by your employer. Professionally trained consultants are available to help with a multitude of issues that may be affecting your personal or work life. The EAP is free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Below is information on how the EAP can help and how it works.

The EAP helps with personal and work issues

The EAP provides resources and support regarding many issues, including:

Health and safety concerns

  • stress
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • substance abuse
  • concern about another person’s substance abuse
  • gambling or other addictions
  • domestic abuse
  • grief and loss
  • crisis and trauma

Financial and legal topics

  • budgeting, financial worries, and reducing debt
  • legal matters

Relationship and family matters

  • adoption issues
  • relationship issues
  • separation and divorce
  • child care and parenting issues
  • elder care/caregiving issues
  • education issues

Work issues

  • work-related problems and job stress
  • conflict at work
  • job burnout
  • workplace change

Remember, no problem is too big or too small. The EAP encourages you and those close to you to seek help early, before a minor problem becomes more serious. The EAP is designed to address short-term issues and to identify resources and referrals for emergency and long-term issues.

The EAP is confidential

EAP services are confidential. The EAP doesn’t let your employer or anyone else know that you called unless you’ve given your consent and written permission—not your manager or supervisor, not even your partner or spouse. The only exception to this rule of confidentiality is if the EAP consultant learns that someone is at risk of self-harm or of harming others. In this case, the consultant may be required to report the situation to the appropriate authorities.

The EAP is easy to use

Contacting the EAP is easy:

Simply call the toll-free telephone number. If you do not have the telephone number, ask your human resources (HR) representative for it.

When you call the EAP, be prepared to give your name, address, and the name of your organization. Your name and any other identifying information will be kept confidential. Your employer’s name is important because it allows the EAP consultant to identify the specific type of service your employer is providing along with other important benefit-related information. Return calls can be arranged at your discretion.

The EAP consultant will discuss your needs and concerns with you, listen, and assess the situation. Depending on your situation, the EAP consultant may:

  • work with you and help you make a plan to resolve your issues or concerns
  • refer you to a support group
  • guide you to helpful resources in your community
  • refer you to a specialist or local counsellor for ongoing counselling
  • help you navigate the EAP website for informative online content

The EAP is free

The EAP service is provided by your employer at no cost to you. However, if you accept a referral to services outside the EAP, you may be responsible for any associated costs. The EAP consultant will work with you to find the most appropriate and cost-effective help to address your needs.

If you or someone close to you is going through a difficult time, remember that help is only a phone call away.

Make your employees feel loved