First responders help ordinary citizens in extraordinary ways.
But who helps them?
In a recent article from the San Bernardino Sun, “For San Bernardino terror attack first responders, healing is ongoing,” officers commented on the support they received and the impact on their lives.
Some officers in this article said they appreciated the mental health services provided, on scene or through their EAP, while others said they prefer working with a Peer Support Team.
Because some readers may not know the difference between an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a Peer Support program, here is a short description of EAP Services at TCTI. In the next post, we will review the definition of a Peer Support program.
Employee Assistance Services provide mental health services to employees when experiencing:
- Chronic depression
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Drug or alcohol use/abuse
- Family issues and relationships
- Drug dependency
- Increased absenteeism
- The inability to maintain relationships at work
- Other situations affecting emotional and physical well-being
Concerns are kept confidential.
Employees can call the EAP twenty-four hours a day — with complete confidentiality. There is no approval by management needed.
TCTI’s EAP services are customized to meet the needs of the agency they are serving.
With the mission to Serve Those Who Serve Us, TCTI has developed a true understanding of public safety and their unique work environment.
As Director of the Counseling Team International, Nancy Bohl-Penrod, Ph.D. has witnessed firsthand how left untreated; mental health issues can take a tremendous toll on employees and family members. She knows that stress of any work-related situation can create a “war” within a person’s mind, body and spirit. Treating the effect of that stress – and keeping anxiety and pressure at bay – is the passion and mission of the staff at TCTI.
A Bit of EAP History
Although their popularity surged in the 1970s with government funding for alcohol abuse treatment, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) actually began in 1917, shortly before the end of World War I. Emotional turmoil sometimes accompanied by alcohol or drug abuse, also affected World War II’s military personnel and their families.
“Our nation recognized early after World War II that adjusting to civilian life was noticeably difficult for those who served,” says Dr. Bohl-Penrod. “What we now call post traumatic syndrome, or PTSD, may very likely be what they were experiencing. And like today, the symptoms of PTSD and other mental health issues would show up in the workplace through absenteeism, poor work habits and often addiction.”
“Whether you’re in law enforcement, fire service, education, healthcare or any level of government; having services available to you and your immediate family members provides comfort in knowing that you have constant backup,” adds Dr. Bohl-Penrod.
“Today’s professionals can face unexpected events in their life which can affect their job performance and other areas of their life. EAP services provide the best support, resources and training to all employees so that they can experience a balanced and fulfilling career and home life.”
Investing in physical and mental health is vital. If you feel stressed – especially during the holidays – contact your EAP provider or your closest Peer Support leader.
For further information, call The Counseling Team International at 1-800-222-9691.