Friday, January 29, 2016

EAPs: Say "People with Mental Illness", not "Mentally Ill"

This is not about political correctness. A new study says the most subtle differences in how mental health professionals refer to people who are mentally ill can affect how others perceive them and fuel stigma and discrimination. I believe it. When I was a student in graduate school, I worked in a half-way house residential setting for schizophrenics and severely mentally ill. The facility was an old Victorian home, with perhaps eight rooms. The program was hugely successful in behavioral contracting and getting people affected by mentally illness on their feet with jobs and proper med management. But, the culture of employees there was not conducive to de-stigmatizing (sp?) mental illness. Staff were absolute pros at their work, but they would use terms like "crazy" and make jokes about residents. This research goes much further that even this behind closed doors "gallows humor." Now research seems to address this problem in even more basic way, and I think EAP Employee Assistance Programs should read this research press release to help ensure they are setting the right examples in their work. For example, participants in a recent study were more likely to agree with the statement “the mentally ill should be isolated from the community” than the almost identical statement “people with mental illnesses should be isolated from the community.” Incredible. Here is the press release. Educate your student interns. Set the example, be a change agent regarding this problem.
#EAP Employee Assistance Programs

Thursday, January 21, 2016

For EAPs: Press Release from American College of Cardiology (ACC)

I am going to start sending printable press releases to EAP Employee Assistance Programs and those who sign up on this blog, so if you wish to tell people about this blog, please do so they can get this content.

I subscribe to hundreds of news feeds, and when something comes through that's useful, I will pass it on to you.

This one is on Cardiac Health and Exercise. It was issued two days ago by American College of Cardiology (ACC). These press releases I post here can be printed and copied, and should be. You can distribute them to your employees and wellness customers so you add value to what you do.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Employment Practices Liability Education of Supevisors by (EAP) Employee Assistance Programs

Everyday, supervisors face the need to resolve difficult and critical people problems. Intermingled with their decisions in managing these situations are tripwires that can cause large legal problems for themselves and the organization. Serious and unintentional mistakes can lead to severe organizational crises of a legal nature. So, it makes sense to educate yourself as an EAP Employee Assistance Program about "employment practices liability", all the possible forms it takes, and consider claiming the high ground as an educational resource if no one else in your organization (or the organization you serve) is playing this crucial and preventative role.  Here's the bottom line: If EAPs (meaning true core technology programs, please!) are primarily responsible for consulting with supervisors about troubled employees, and within the organization are seen is the front line contact for such assistance, then EAPs also have the most strategic role for reducing risk of employment practice related lawsuits as consultants to front line managers. So, let me ask if you have a good, solid, in-depth book on supervision malpractices, employment practices liability, and the proper approach to handling the many different types of difficult people problems?  I recommend you getting Joseph D Levesque's book, "The Human Resource Problem Solver's Handbook." It is a thick, highly detailed book on tons of issues managers face. You don't have to be a heart surgeon to share healthy eating information with employees so they can have a healthy heart. Right? So the same is true for legal issues. Educate supervisors about improper and questionable supervision practices that can get them and the company sued. You don't have to hire an employment law attorney to do a seminar. You can educate yourself as an EAP about all the various supervision practices and related interactions managers experience with employees and help them steer clear of those practices that can get them in trouble.

#EAP employee assistance programs

Thursday, January 14, 2016

You're Nothing Without Confidentiality

As an EA professional, do you acknowledge clients in the hallway when they say hello? What about public settings like groceries stores? If a client approaches you in the hallway, do you fail to minimize the amount of time engaging with him or her? Do you accept invitations to Christmas parties? Are you an assistant Scout Master with the local Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troop that happens to be the same troop where an employee (not a client) in your organization also volunteers? Would you attend the wedding of an EAP client--you know, the one you helped get sober three years ago who is now an outstanding worker and is so grateful for you "single-handily" saving his life?" There is nothing inherently wrong with engaging clients in the community, but this activity--the appearance, no matter how slight, of having a different kind of relationship with one employee over another can destroy your EAP's confidentiality in a flash, demotivate and cause would-be clients to stay away, and increase risk to your organization because these same employees might also be the most at-risk. There are only three types of employees in the entire world of work on planet earth--supervisors, employees, and employee assistance professionals. This metaphor exaggerates the point I am trying to make here. You can't afford to look and be more friendly or emotionally close with clients or potential clients in your organization. And every employee is a potential client. Doing so creates a dual-relationship that undermines your appearance of neutrality-a source of confidential help. This happens because it instantly appears that you a have closer non-professional relationship with some over others. This makes you suspect as to being unable to keep a secret to some employees who have different or no relationship with those same employees. The thought will cross an employee's mind, "Can you be trusted?" Being friends or having informal social engagements with clients, employees, or supervisors is a recipe for frightening away potential clients and undermining your program. If employee X does not trust employee Y, but you appear to be friends with employee Y, what happens? Answer: X stays away from the EAP. The dominoes fall from there.

#eap employee assistance program