WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (Feb. 1, 2022) When most people think about the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), they believe the services are solely for those with alcohol and drug problems. However, the ASAP office offers so much more, for all employees and their families, through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The program focuses on various issues an employee may face that may hinder their work productivity. The goal is to provide solution-focused brief intervention for employees on challenges ranging from stress at work to marital issues at home.
“We talk about establishing boundaries between our professional and our personal lives, however, we also recognize that realistically they affect one another,” said Amanda Carreras, Employee Assistance & Prevention Coordinator at White Sands Missile Range. “Issues in your personal life sometimes transfer into your work performance causing a distraction while you try to work. Our prevention efforts help create awareness of demand from both sides in order to mitigate the challenges you may face.”
The program is solely voluntary and is available to all federal employees, their families, and retirees. Employees can go on their own if they need assistance. Supervisors can also refer them to the program if they feel it would benefit their employee’s performance or wellbeing. Even if a supervisor refers an employee, it is the employee’s decision to utilize this confidential program.
Carreras, who has a background in advocacy and social work, explained that services include short-term counseling, consultations, assessments, preventative education, and more. The EAP office also has a stress reduction room which is private and has a sofa, relaxing music, a massager, and aromatherapy. Anyone can use the room, no questions asked, people use it to lower their blood pressure, reduce anger, manage stress and pain, or to just take a break.
“We also deal with mental health wounds that are not easily identifiable. If someone walks in with crutches, you know they experienced a physical wound. You can't see emotional wounds,” said Carreras. “The way we recognize emotional wounds is by the relationships we build. In the workforce, you are with your coworkers 80 percent of your time; you can establish those relationships and recognize when someone may be in need of help."
The EAP offers assistance for various issues dealing with home-life and work-life. A few examples of challenges include:
- Substance addiction or abuse
- Job related stress
- Relationships and communication
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Grief and loss
- Marital, family, or significant other
- Violence – workplace and domestic
“A few more examples include working with parents who are having trouble with their teen and need advice and suggestions on new parenting strategies. Or someone who may be having a tough time with budgeting, we can offer them tools to help,” said Carreras. “Some people even come to us when they feel like their workload is too heavy and we offer tips on how to communicate with their supervisor or fellow colleagues.”
On Jan. 27, the program held a vision board workshop to help employees plan for their future and develop goals. Planning mitigates stress and anxiety, which is why the EAP provides these events. At the pandemic's start, virtual yoga classes were offered to help employees relax during those challenging times. The office also assists with developing daily routines and teaching self-care.
For more information:
Amanda Carreras, Employee Assistance & Prevention Coordinator
PDC Building 465, Room 127