EAP: A helpful resource for stressful times

Work and stress. Some say they go together like peas and carrots, or Batman and Robin. Some say stress just “comes with the territory.” Some just take a licking and keep on ticking, like those famous wristwatches of years past.

But for many, stress in the workplace can be more than just, well, stressful. For many, work-related stress can be overwhelming, dangerous to health, disruptive to work, and perhaps even debilitating. And thanks to these difficult economic times, many workers report they feel more stressed today than ever.

From our newsletterThere’s also a financial cost associated with work-related stress. Several studies conducted in the past decade place the cost of such stress — generated by losses in absenteeism, turnover, reduced productivity, medical expenses and more — at more than $300 billion per year.

And then there’s the “snowball effect.” Something goes wrong on the home front –- tight finances, trouble with the kids, an argument, a call from the I.R.S. -– and suddenly you’re looking for help and wondering where to turn.

The Fresno Unified School District and the Joint Health Management Board have made available a resource that can assist with such stresses. It’s called the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and it’s only a phone call away.

So what’s the EAP? “It’s a problem-solving resource for benefit-eligible employees, active or retired, and their direct dependents,” said Laurie Slez, Vice President of the Claremont EAP, which provides EAP services for the Fresno Unified School District Employee Health Care Plan (managed by the Joint Health Management Board – JHMB). “The EAP connects those eligible with a wide range of services, including personal or workplace issues to financial counseling, and it’s all completely confidential.”

Laurie said that when an eligible employee contacts the EAP, that employee will be placed in touch with resources appropriate to assist with the problem or problems at hand. And the range of issues with which EAP can assist is wide, indeed, and includes:

  • Counseling: Personal, marital, family and relationship, for private or work concerns.
  • Financial services: Telephone consultations over home budgeting, tax questions, debt consolidation, identity theft, credit report review and more. EAP’s financial services allow employees to sign up for more in-depth assistance programs with nominal fees.
  • Legal and attorney referrals: For divorce, custody, car accidents, immigration issues and more. The initial consultation is free, with others following at a discount.
  • Work-life referrals: For child care, elder care, finding financial aid for higher education, and more.
  • Wellness referrals: For getting access to nutritionists, chiropractors, specialty care and other physician referrals. The EAP works within the Blue Cross network, calling providers on your behalf until they find an appropriate practitioner with an opening.
  • Convenience referrals: Chore services, relocation services, travel, childcare and nanny referrals, locating preschool or afterschool care resources, summer camps, and even pet care. The EAP provides qualified referrals and ensures they are within your budget.

So how much does a call to the EAP cost? “Generally speaking, there’s no cost for covered services, with a limit of five counseling visits per incident,” Laurie added. “The EAP will not give direct recommendations and will not make decisions for you, but it will get you in contact with tools and resources to help you make the best decisions for your family.”

And what about confidentiality? “EAP services are kept completely confidential,” Laurie added. “A call to the EAP can help to keep work-related stresses from becoming lingering problems, and can help to keep personal issues from affecting work performance. That confidentiality is about peace of mind, and it’s one feature that makes the EAP a valuable resource.”

Need to call the EAP? Reach them at 800-834-3773, or visit the EAP’s website at www.claremonteap.com.

Scroll to Top