EAP for CAREGivers - But what is it?

Working for Home Instead, you may have already heard about the ‘Employee Assistance Program’ that is offered to you. The Life & Progress Assistance Programme gives you access to a secure-online source of self help and well being information www.lap-access.co.uk. You can also call the Freephone number 0800 083 3375, where you will speak to a trained advisor, that is available 24/7 365 days a year.

Okay, sounds great, but what does all of that actually mean? How can it help me? What can I talk to them about? 

An Employee from the Cheltenham and Cotswolds office, has written up their journey of using the EAP in the hope that it will encourage others to pick up the phone and use the free service. 

"Like most people, I was told about the EAP service when I first joined Home Instead which was back in July 2019. I thought, ‘Cool, that sounds great, but I won’t need to use it. I’m not sure what I would even call them and talk about. I don’t have depression and life seems pretty good.’ Lock down and other things going on in my life finally caught up with me this year, my Manager took me to one side and asked if I was okay. I opened up and said no, the main thing I was struggling with was the realisation I had anticipatory grief. She suggested I phone EAP and talk to someone who was non-biased to my situation and would simply listen. 

I finally plucked up the courage to call. I honestly thought I would hear a computer voice and I would have to pick through lots of options saying ‘please press number 1 for this, number 2 for this.’ So it came as a nice surprise when I spoke to an actual human being! He asked me how I was and what made me pick up the phone to call them. The main thing I was struggling with was the recent realisation of anticipatory grief. I talked through the main things I was struggling with, he listened and we quickly realised how previous trauma was affecting me in the present.

He said he would like to put me forward for 6 free sessions with a trained counsellor to talk through everything in more detail and if I would be happy for him to do this. I am so glad that I said yes. 

I had 3 sessions with a counsellor and we didn’t click, I was gutted. I didn’t know what to expect as I had never had counselling before, I was taking half day holidays to be able to process everything after the call, but I didn’t feel that I was progressing with understanding my anticipatory grief any better. I phoned EAP and went into detail as to why I wasn’t clicking with the counsellor and if I could swap my remaining 3 sessions to someone new, as I really wanted to make the most out of my remaining 3. They were really understanding and I was able to change counsellors. Wow, the difference. 

She listened, she helped me to understand different ways to cope with my anticipatory grief, if my pet died suddenly, life would be okay. I would be okay. My 6 free sessions have now finished, my journey is still continuing and I can still phone them if I hit a wobble patch. 

The EAP are there for you to talk to them about absolutely anything and I mean that, heartache, stress, grief, depression, work issues, personal life issues, you name it, there will be someone at the end of the phone to listen. They won’t judge and you will feel so much better afterwards. 

My whole experience with them has been positive and life changing. I am so glad I took the plunge to call them and I hope you do too, if you feel you need to.

My top tip would be to have at least an hour free when you first phone them, so that you don't feel rushed."