KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) — Personal and family problems can diminish a person’s happiness, health and ability to be their best at home or at work. With help from the Employee Assistance Program, employees of authorized federal agencies can resolve these matters and become happier, healthier and more effective.
According to Ed Thomas, an EAP field consultant, “Working at a military installation can involve stressors that are not present in off-base workplaces.
“When an individual’s work is the security and defense of our nation, that increases the amount of daily stress for that person,” he said.
These stressors can often be compounded because employees are reluctant to visit their agency’s human resource department.
“They are concerned that negative information might be included in their employee file,” he said. “We assure them that our contact is confidential. Our duty to report is only in the case of harming oneself or matters of national security. Our counseling sessions are solution focused, and either the supervisor or employee can make contact with us.”
Thomas said GS employees and their immediate family members are entitled to six counseling sessions for any issue causing stress in their life that may impact their work performance. Counseling beyond the six free sessions can include accessing the nationwide network of more than 17,000 affiliates to serve civilian employees, and often engages the employee’s behavioral health insurance benefits.
“Staff members are experts in behavioral health and work-related issues,” Thomas said. “When we need to engage financial or legal help for an employee, we use the services of these professionals, such as attorneys and financial advisors.”
Available financial services include family and college budgeting, buying or leasing a vehicle, debt consolidation, savings and investment strategies, buying a home and retirement planning.
In addition to providing help on an individual basis, covered agencies are entitled to four one-hour presentations per year.
“We have 50 presentations available on topics such as conflict resolution, balancing work and life, time and stress management and civility in the workplace,” he said.
Ultimately, EAP is about empowering employees to do their best on the job.
“Our mission is to address any stress in a person’s life that affects their work performance,” Thomas said. “We want people to be happy in their job and we are here to help make that happen.”