How to access your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services

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The TL;DR:
  • Accessing traditional EAP services typically involves contacting your HR department or directly contacting the EAP provider via phone, email, or an online portal.
  • Once you've made contact with your EAP service and provided some information, they will generally arrange a counselling session for you at a later date.
  • Sonder simplifies accessing support by allowing employees to use an intuitive app. Members can get in touch via instant chat or phone and will be connected with a Sonder's support team in 15 seconds.
Clear guidance on how to access Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits allow employees to tap into support when they need it most. This article will explore how to access EAP services via the traditional pathways, and the modern approach offered by alternatives like Sonder.

Understanding traditional EAP services

Many organisations offer an EAP to support their workforce. The primary goal is to help employees deal with personal and work-related problems that could negatively affect their job performance and overall wellbeing. Traditionally, EAPs provide resources including confidential counselling, legal advice, and sometimes financial guidance.

While traditional EAPs offer benefits, the changing dynamics of the workforce, and increasing complexity of challenges faced by employees, have left many seeking more comprehensive support. This is where modern alternatives, like Sonder, come in.

Sonder offers a more holistic approach to care, encompassing not just mental health support but also medical advice and safety assistance, catering to the diverse needs of employees.

Comparison of employee assistance offered by traditional EAPs and Sonder.

How to access EAP services

Typically, access comes via HR referral, or self-referral. Either way, access to EAP services should be simple, so that employees can quickly get the support they need.

Employees often receive information about an organisation's EAP provider when they join the company, as part of their onboarding. Or the details can be made available on a central intranet system. Having this information freely accessible allows employees to bypass HR and any privacy concerns, and connect with the necessary resources.

EAPs are usually accessible via telephone, email, or an online platform. This range of communication channels allows people to initiate contact in the way that's most comfortable and convenient for them.

With Sonder, mental health, medical and safety support services are made easy through a dedicated app. Members can initiate an instant chat, or make a phone call, at any time, day or night. They'll be connected to a real person in, on average 15 seconds or less, and through a triage process, Sonder's support staff will connect them with the right service.

"My first contact and the triage nurse were so caring, patient and understanding that I immediately felt safe and open. I was also contacted the following day to book an appointment with a psychologist/ counsellor."

- Sonder Member

Confidentiality of EAP services

EAP services maintain a strict code of confidentiality, creating a safe space for employees to discuss their concerns. This privacy is fundamental to the effectiveness of EAPs, as it encourages employees to be open and honest about their challenges, knowing that their personal information is secure. The assurance of confidentiality is not just a promise but a professional obligation, with clinicians, counsellors, and social workers all adhering to ethical standards that protect the privacy of their clients.

EAPs like Sonder have implemented extra measures to protect member information. Sonder's platform treats member interactions with confidentiality, using only anonymised data to share insights with employers.

"We cannot share identifiable health data without explicit documented consent."

- Dr Jamie Phillips, Medical Director, Sonder

The evolution of EAP counselling services

Traditional EAPs offer counselling sessions focusing on short-term solutions, aiming to resolve immediate concerns quickly.

While addressing urgent issues is crucial, many employee challenges stem from various factors, rather than a single issue. Nearly 72% of Sonder members presented with more than one wellbeing issue. If multiple issues are present, then often a multifaceted approach is needed, encompassing more than immediate counselling solutions.

Sonder tailors its approach to address this complexity head-on. Their support staff perform upfront triage, ensuring comprehensive support that addresses the symptoms and the root causes of an employee's distress. Sonder facilitates immediate access to a wide range of support services, beyond just counselling, to deliver a holistic support system. This approach actively recognises and responds to the interconnectedness of employees' needs, fostering a healthier, more resilient workforce.

Two employees engaged in a meeting while seated across each other at a desk in an office environment.

Commonly asked questions about EAP Services

How do I book an appointment?

Call the number provided by your EAP. Many providers, especially those with prominent international networks, offer extensive coverage via many practitioners. This ensures you can access face-to-face counselling wherever you live and work.

Is online counselling available?

The availability of online counselling varies depending on the EAP provider. While many providers offer online counselling, especially for those who cannot attend in person, it's best to contact your HR department for specific details and further instructions regarding your organisation's EAP services.

How often can I see a counsellor?

The frequency of sessions often depends on your needs. Often your employer will offer a maximum amount as part of their EAP offering. While EAP counselling is typically short-term, your counsellor can advise and provide recommendations if further sessions are required.

Can family members access these services?

The ability of family members to access services depends on the specific EAP provider. While many modern platforms extend their support to immediate family members, contacting your HR department for exact details and further instructions regarding your organisation's EAP services is recommended.

How do I contact a provider?

You can contact your provider using the details provided by your HR department. Alternatively, call the phone number associated with the service for immediate support.

The way forward with EAPs and their alternatives

Want to learn more? Dive deeper into the world of EAP alternatives and discover how they can transform your organisation with our ultimate EAP buyer's guide.

  • Learn how to compare vendor offerings
  • Discover what makes EAP alternatives different
  • Gain insider tips and statistics
  • Write a convincing business case

Want to learn more?

Ready to experience a modern approach to employee care? Contact Sonder today to discover how our platform can benefit your organisation.

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Sonder is reimagining health, safety and wellbeing support. Sonder proves human centric care leads to earlier intervention. Sonder impacts one person at a time to drive meaningful change across an organisation. Sonder understands people and how to support them.

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