EAP offers personal, workplace support to employees

· 3 min read

EAP offers personal, workplace support to employees

Employee assistance program
Craig Chandler University Communication
Kyla Gorji (left), director of Nebraska's Employee Assistance Program, sits with Valerie Williams, a counselor with the program, in their office on campus.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Employee Assistance Program offers an array of free services for university employees struggling with issues such as workplace stress and mental health.

This fall, the program is offering three classes on parenting, marriage and professional development, in addition to its regular services. Regular services include mental health counseling, workplace stress support, management consultation, cancer support, trauma debriefing and the employee emergency loan fund.

“We support workplace and personal issues,” said Kyla Gorji, director of the Employee Assistance Program. “Workplace issues may be work stress, conflict with someone else or how to have a conversation with my supervisor. The personal issues range anywhere from depression, anxiety and grief. Just coping with stress can be similar or a mild version of these concerns. We also provide support for other mental health issues such as addiction, eating disorders, coping relationship or marital problems or coping with a medical illness.”

Employees with these and other struggles can schedule an appointment with one of the two full-time counselors, who are Gorji and Valerie Jones.

The program is open to all university employees, and appointments are available via telehealth or in-person 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Employees are able to use five hours of administrative leave for EAP visits if they choose to do so.

To make an appointment, employees can call 402-472-3107 or 888-445-9881, or email eap@unl.edu.

Employees can visit with one of the two full-time counselors, which are Gorji and Valerie Williams. Gorji and Williams will help guide patients through their struggles, and will typically provide five to eight appointments as they work towards a resolution. For those who need longer-term care, they are able to provide referrals.

Outside of individual counseling, employees can take advantage of the additional services EAP provides.

For example, in 2019 they opened their “Find Your Calm, Restore Your Zenergy” relaxation room.

The room was opened in 2019 to help employees learn methods to reduce stress and anxiety. Fifteen-minute appointments can be scheduled at any time to utilize the room, which is equipped with comfort items and a screen that is equipped with guided meditations.

“Patients can learn some meditation skills and relaxation strategies just by watching videos and being in a calm space,” Gorji said. “It’s not intimidating whatsoever. It’s about learning mindfulness and it’s a good strategy for reducing anxiety. Mindfulness is important for mental health and people hear about that a lot, but they don’t really understand exactly what that could entail. So this is a simple way to learn it.”

Another additional service that has helped employees is the Employee Emergency Loan Fund.

The fund is available for employees who run into financial emergencies and need immediate assistance.

Employees can borrow up to $1,000 and repay the loan interest-free via payroll deduction over the course of one calendar year. Employees have to apply for the loan which is reviewed by a committee and serviced by EAP.

Overall, EAP is available to support employees through the challenges that life may throw at them. More information, tips and tools can be found by visiting the program’s website.

“We encourage any employee who’s struggling to reach out for help,” said Gorji. “It can be as easy as a phone call or an email”

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