PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The purpose of the Army Employee Assistance Program is to help employees to identify and resolve personal problems that may affect their job performance or personal well-being.
Problems such as gambling, along with drug or alcohol addictions, have a high potential to disrupt lives.
Other needs may include marriage counseling, mental health counseling, grief and loss counseling, or family/personal counseling.
Although funding for the Employee Assistance Program has changed, the office can still provide valuable assistance in obtaining services.
"We now provide no-charge counseling sessions to employees," said Christopher Moore, Army Substance Abuse Program Manager. "We screen and then refer to outside supporting agencies. In a span of 10 years, or so, we went from providing an unlimited amount of free-counseling sessions down to six, then down to three, and now zero."
The programs help employees connect with outside agencies by determining if the agencies accept the insurance policies of individual employees. Typically, a single counseling session may cost from $75 to $125 an hour, Moore said. Because every insurance policy is different, there may also be co-pays or other fees.
Barriers to seeking help may include simply not knowing about the Employee Assistance Program, or an employee may find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that they have a problem. And if they do acknowledge the need for help, they don't want their employer to know about it.
"Everything is confidential," Moore said.
Federal and state laws guarantee the confidentiality of client-identity and records.
"We want to help anyone with a problem so we can get them back to doing their job efficiently and effectively, get them back to supporting to the warfighter."
Moore's office is open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. One of the functions of the office is to collect urine samples for civilian employees who need to undergo testing, while a unit prevention leader collects for military personnel.
"When employees are experiencing on-going or overwhelming problems related to stress, family, emotional, alcohol or drug use, financial or other concerns, the EAP can help," Moore said.
Supervisor or training is one of the main focus areas of the EAP office.
"Supervisors need to be able to recognize if one of their employees is having a prob?lem, and they need to be able to help guide them to increase not only their work performance, but to help get them back on the right path," Moore said.
Moore noted that with more than 44,000 cases reported annually, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States each year.
"That's a big problem," Moore said. "We constantly see it in the news with celebrity suicides."
Ask, Care, Escort (ACE) is the Army-approved suicide prevention and awareness training model.
The key training objective is awareness training, which includes recognizing risk factors and warning signs.
The purpose of ACE is to help Soldiers and junior leaders learn what steps they can take to prevent suicides, and be confident in their ability to do so.
The Army has designated September as Suicide Prevention Month.
Suicide prevention training is required every year for all Soldiers and civilian employees in accordance with Army Regulation 600-63.
According to the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, 31 active duty U.S. Army service members killed themselves during the first quarter of 2017, and 127 in all of 2016.
This statistic is double the per capita suicide rate of the total U.S. population, highlighting suicide awareness as a high priority for the Army.
For more information about EAP visit Building 118 or call 973-724-4357.