Be Connected: Stories from our employees at the Employee Assistance Program
This week's story is about the team behind the City’s gold-star Employee Assistance Program.
We all experience ups and downs in life. In some cases, we find that we can handle stress, conflict, and other difficult situations on our own, or with the help of family and friends. Sometimes, however, it helps to talk to an experienced counselor.
That’s why we’re lucky to have a team of dedicated clinicians and staff operating the City of Boston’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). “It’s easy to think that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness, or to assume everyone else around you has everything under total control,” said EAP Director, Wendy Cook. “In reality, the pressures and stresses of everyday life affect everyone at some point, and seeking help should be viewed as a sign of strength that warrants support from the people around you — just like you would encourage someone to use their vacation time to recharge or visit a doctor when they’re sick.”
In a year filled with unprecedented and extraordinary challenges, EAP services have been in high demand — and the EAP team has done everything possible to make sure our employees get the support they need, when they need it.
While EAP stopped accepting walk-ins or scheduling face-to-face meetings back in March, they have managed to field a higher than average volume of inquiries, provide consultations, and conduct sessions remotely. They have compiled, shared, and promoted available resources, recorded video messages addressing common issues and concerns, hosted virtual workshops to help City departments cope with specific challenges, and provided critical incident support to teams who have shared traumatic experiences or suffered a tragic loss.
All the while, the small but mighty EAP team has stayed connected through weekly virtual staff meetings and regular check-ins with one another. They even welcomed two new staff clinicians in September, working quickly to bring them up to speed so they could start helping people right away.
EAP’s new hires, Sarah Ryan and Lori Jones, are excited to join the City of Boston team. "During these challenging times, it is helpful to know that you have a supportive option. Public service is all about caring for others, and public servants need care too,” they said.
We encourage any of you who may need assistance to please call the main line at 617-635-2200. This line is monitored throughout the day during business hours. The EAP hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m with on call hours from 6 - 8 p.m. (instructions on how to reach the on call clinician are available on the EAP voicemail message). Please visit the Employee Assistance Program website for a list of the clinicians and additional resources available in your communities.
As a reminder, the program is available to City of Boston employees and their family members, retirees, participating authorities, and commissions. The service is available regardless of type of employment or length of employment. It's a confidential, neutral resource, and available at no cost.
Thank you to the Employee Assistance Program team for sharing your story. To submit your own “Story From Our Employees”, write to us at BeConnected@Boston.gov!