Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provide services designed to help employees, managers, and organizations meet life challenges and remain healthy, engaged, and productive.
For employees: Your EAP can provide short-term counseling and referral for issues that are having an impact on your ability to work. The EAP will either address your concerns during counseling sessions, or they will refer you on to appropriate community resources, counselors, and other supports. Issues addressed by an EAP include:
- Life changes - divorce, new job, new baby, aging parents, grief and loss, retirement
- Life challenges - drug and alcohol abuse, depression, eating disorders, mental illness
- Job stress and burnout
- Coping with difficult situations or difficult people
For veterans: If you are facing challenges as a result of your military service and/or recent deployment, the EAP and other veteran-specific resources can help. The EAP and your component work/life services can assist with:
- Financial and legal referrals for you and your family, should you face challenges related to deployment or any other life events
- Stress management
- Confidential counseling and referrals for PTSD treatment
Additional resources include:
- Vet Centers (Department of Veterans Affairs)
- PTSD 101 Courses, National Center for PTSD (Department of Veterans Affairs)
- Where to Get Help for PTSD, National Center for PTSD (Department of Veterans Affairs)
Note: As cited in the Details section below, veterans who seek counseling "strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment" do not have to report this counseling for the purposes of security clearances.
For managers: Your EAP is your ally in fostering a high-performance organization by providing:
- Coaching - how to refer employees to EAP, have difficult performance conversations, handle difficult employees, be a better manager
- Counseling and referral to help you manage your own stress and life challenges
For organizations: Your EAP plays an important role in organizational health and wellbeing, as well as recovery from emergencies, by addressing:
- Performance - supporting your employees and managers in their efforts achieve excellent results at work
- Critical Incident Stress Management - playing an important role in helping individuals and organizations prepare for and recover from traumatic events
- Confidential: EAP is confidential. The EAP will not report the details of your sessions to anyone. There are certain restrictions on this confidentiality that the EAP will inform you about at the beginning of your session. For example, if you disclose child or elder abuse, the EAP counselor would be required by law to report that disclosure to state or local authorities.
- No Impact on Security Clearance: Going to the EAP in and of itself will not affect your security clearance. The EAP is a confidential service and does not report to security. If you are referred for substance abuse treatment and/or mental health counseling, you may be required to self-report. However, the fact that you sought help through the EAP will be considered favorably. Please note that in terms of required disclosure, the SF-86 form exempts you from having to report any counseling related to “strictly marital, family, grief not related to violence by you; or strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment.”
- Free Services: EAP services are free. Depending on your component's program, you may receive four to six sessions from your EAP. If you are referred out for further services, you can work with your EAP to ensure that the referral is to a counselor or facility that accepts your health insurance.
- Time Off for Sessions: The DHS Management Directive for EAP states that “Supervisors may grant a reasonable amount of time during normal working hours to an employee to attend EAP counseling sessions during duty hours. An employee working regular duty hours may have his/her tour of duty modified to accommodate his/her attendance at such sessions. Permission to attend EAP counseling sessions on duty time will include travel to and from such sessions." You should get in touch with your component contact person to find out more about how your component addresses the use of administrative leave for EAP visits. If you are not able to use administrative leave, you can visit the EAP during non-duty hours or you can use sick or annual leave. If you use administrative leave, your manager can request proof that you visited the EAP, but they cannot require you to disclose any information about the substance of the visit.
- May Serve Family Members: Some component EAPs do serve family members. Call or email your component contact person to find out about whether yours provides this service.
- Voluntary: EAP is always voluntary. Sometimes employees with serious performance issues are referred to the EAP by management. Employees in drug-testing positions who test positive are also referred to the EAP. It's still your choice whether or not to visit the EAP; you can use counselors in your community, or you can choose to refuse all assistance. If you choose not to seek help, however, and you are not addressing the issue that led to the referral in the first place, that will have implications for your job.
How to Contact the EAP
Each Department component has its own EAP. This chart provides provider names, Web links and general phone numbers for each component. Your component's intranet may provide a specific contact person responsible for administering the EAP. If you have issues or questions about your EAP program or policy please reach out to your component contact person.
|CIS||Federal Occupational Health||—||800-222-0364|
|Coast Guard||CG SUPRT||—||1-855-CGSUPRT (247-8778)|
|FEMA||Federal Occupational Health||—||800-222-0364|
|ICE||Federal Occupational Health||—||800-222-0364|
|Inspector General||Federal Occupational Health||—||800-222-0364|
|TSA||Federal Occupational Health||—||800-222-0364|
- Federal Employee Assistance Programs: Guiding Principles, Framework, and Definitions (PDF, 23 pages - 388 KB)
Additional resources may be available on your component's intranet.