Employee Assistance Program Guide for Employees

An Employee Assistance Program, also known as an EAP for short, is an employer-sponsored mental health benefit that provides confidential mental health counseling and support services at no cost to employees and their eligible family members.

How to Use Your Employee Assistance Program

1  Recognize an Issue

The EAP can help you address relationship and family issues, stress, anxiety, depression, grief, alcohol abuse, and other mental health concerns. No problem is too big or too small for counseling.

2  Schedule an Appointment

Call 1-800-222-8590 to schedule an appointment with a counselor. Your free and confidential EAP benefit can include telephonic, video, or face-to-face counseling (where available).

3  Complete Intake Paperwork

Prior to meeting with a counselor, you will be asked to complete brief intake paperwork that collects demographic information and provides client rights and privacy policies.

4  Talk with a Counselor

During your counseling sessions, you and your counselor will talk about your concerns and develop an ongoing plan for meeting your mental health goals.

5  Identify Follow-on Resources

Depending on your situation, you may need follow-on services beyond the EAP. Your counselor can work with you to determine options for continued support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to use the benefit?

Typically, employees, spouses, dependents, and immediate household members are eligible to use the benefit. For more specific information, review your organization’s benefit documents, ask your HR department, or call ERC at 1-800-222-8590.

What types of issues can the EAP help with?

The EAP can assist with a variety of mental health issues, including marital / relationships, grief, anxiety / stress, depression, family dynamics, parenting, job stress, anger, resiliency, and much more. If you are unsure whether the EAP could help with your particular issue, call 1-800-222-8590 to consult with ERC’s Client Care Team.

Are there any costs to use the Employee Assistance Program?

There are no costs or co-pays to you, and the EAP is not tied to your health insurance. Your employer fully sponsors this mental health benefit.

Will my employer know if I use the EAP?

By law, all counseling services are confidential and no identifying information is provided to your employer without your written consent (and you will never be pressured to provide consent if you are not comfortable). As a healthcare facility, ERC counseling is HIPAA protected.

Where can I access services?

To access EAP services, call ERC at 1-800-222-8590. ERC has locations throughout Wisconsin and a proprietary network of affiliates throughout the nation to assist you where you are located.

Will counseling sessions be in person?

ERC offers telephonic, video, and face-to-face counseling sessions depending on location and provider availability. ERC’s preferred method of counseling is face-to-face sessions, although virtual is also an excellent option and provides increased accessibility for many clients.

How “bad” should an issue be for me to reach out for help?

You don’t need to be in crisis to benefit from talking with a therapist, and counseling isn’t just a last resort option. Reaching out before an issue is out of control can help you get back on track sooner. You don’t necessarily need to have a “problem” to participate in counseling either; it can be used to develop personal skills, improve well-being, find greater purpose in life, or build your resiliency.

What happens if I need more than the allotted counseling sessions?

Sometimes additional services may be needed beyond the EAP. In these cases, your EAP counselor will work with you to determine your options and help you find the right follow-on resources for you. This may include insurance billable and/or self-pay counseling through a third-party provider.

Can the EAP help with in-the-moment mental health issues?

You and your eligible family members can call ERC’s 1-800-222-8590 number 24/7/365 for in-the-moment mental health support. There is always a master’s level counselor ready to listen and help you address mental health issues. If there is a mental health emergency or imminent danger to yourself or others, please call 911, 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or your local crisis center.

Does the EAP provide counseling for children?

Yes, the EAP has counselors who work with children five years old and older as well as teens and young adults. Typically, children four years old and younger are not seen by counselors; however, counseling sessions for parents are an option to help address issues.

Can the EAP prescribe medications?

The EAP does not cover or prescribe medications for mental health issues. However, your EAP counselor can help you identify other healthcare or community resources that might be able to assist further if there is a need.

What qualifications do the EAP counselors have?

ERC’s counselors are master’s-level, licensed clinicians. Known as generalists in the mental health field, they have experience in a variety of different areas, including marriage/couples, anxiety, depression, grief, LGBTQ+, parenting, children and adolescents, veteran’s issues, grief, life transition, and more.

What happens during a counseling session?

During your first counseling session, your counselor will ask questions to understand your situation, health, relationships, strengths, and what you want to achieve through counseling. Together, you will develop an ongoing plan for meeting your mental health goals and continue sessions to work on progress. Sessions are typically 45-60 minutes long.

Do I work with the same counselor each session?

When you schedule your first appointment, you will be paired with a counselor who will work with you through the duration of your EAP counseling sessions. In rare cases, you may meet with a different counselor due to emergencies, staffing changes, etc. Please note that when you call for in-the-moment support, you likely will not get your direct counselor. If you feel the need to change counselors, please talk with your counselor or call our Client Care Team at 1-800-222-8590.

Can my spouse or other family members attend sessions with me?

Couple and family counseling are available for those who would like to have multiple people involved in the therapeutic process. When you call to schedule an appointment, let the Client Care Team know that you are planning to bring additional individuals to the appointment(s).

Ripple Effects of Mental Health

It can take a great deal of courage to take the first step in your counseling journey, and there will likely be personal challenges to overcome along the way, but their can also be tremendous rewards. The ripple effects of positive growth within ourselves can help improve our relationships, our family life, our workplaces, and our communities.

The Employee Assistance Program is a free and confidential resource to help you address your mental health concerns and create positive ripples in your life and the lives of those around you.

Call 1-800-222-8590

Ready to schedule an appointment with a counselor? Need in-the-moment mental health support? Have additional questions about the Employee Assistance Program? We’re here to help.

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