[Note: This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my experiences and make people aware of a program they may not realize they have available through their job!]
I had never really heard about Employee Assistance Programs before I started my current job. EAPs tend to be offered by bigger companies, and my previous job at a startup was a bit more lean when it came to benefits. It’s one of the many ways employers can help out with that ever elusive “work life balance”.
It turns out, there are a lot of potential resources from these types of programs. I myself was able to take advantage of quite a few of their offerings when it came to having our baby. My employer offered a Lactation Consultant program, and sent me a “Life Events Kit” for Baby Care, with books for pregnancy and the first few years, and other goodies to help me out. They also ran a search for me for local daycare centers that had spots available for our daughter around the time she’d be starting daycare. This was such a time saver, since they found out what places were available and how much they would cost, without me having to do a bunch of searches and phone calls. We still had to make calls and visits to the few places that we liked from the search results, but it was still such a help!
Another great benefit they offered was one geared towards mental health. You can get up to 8 visits with a mental health professional (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, etc.) at no cost. This is such a valuable benefit, since, with most insurance plans, you’re likely spending a lot out-of-pocket before you even hit the deductible, which might deter you from seeking the help you need. I went through a few rough patches emotionally these past few years, and getting these sessions for free made me willing to go and deal with things rather than keeping my issues bottled up inside!
There are plenty of other resources available for other life events and issues. There are other “life event kits” for when your kids first head to school, for when your kids are teens, and one when you’re dealing with elder care issues.
My EAP also has advice lines for financial and legal questions/issues. There’s also assistance for navigating special needs and other parenting situations.
Not sure if you have an EAP at your job? My benefits are through Optum, and it looks like quite a few other companies offer it through there as well, so check to see if your employer is on the dropdown list here. If your company isn’t listed there, check with your HR department to see what they offer. And maybe you can help convince them to start something if they don’t currently offer it!
Have you taken advantage of employee benefits like these at your job? What do you wish your company offered?