2017-12-01 / Front Page

Employees have protection under assistance program

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs

Stress in the workplace happens. It is inevitable. But it does not have to rule one’s life.

With a sizeable shift in work positions and physical relocations over the past several months, some Fort Gordon employees are experiencing added stress. Fortunately, there are programs in place to help alleviate that stress. Fort Gordon’s Employee Assistance Program is one resource.

The EAP is an Army program that has evolved over the years from being a program that primarily focuses on treatment of substance abuse into a program that covers a multitude of issues. It is for Department of the Army civilians and their family members who do not have access to the on-post health clinic.

“We deal with any type of issue a civilian or their family would have including substance abuse, stress, mental health issues … anything really,” said Ernest Lawson, EAP coordinator. “The difference between us and other programs is that most charge a fee. Here it is free.”

Participation in the program is voluntary and completely confidential.

From individual and family counseling to supervisor and company training, EAP offers a variety of services that ultimately contribute to the Army’s overall success.

Individuals can receive up to four sessions per issue they are dealing with. There is no limit for organizations that receive training.

Whether a person is experiencing health-related issues, job burnout, workplace bullying, or something else, Lawson encourages them to reach out.

“Sometimes a person may not feel comfortable talking with a supervisor alone, so I can be that advocate to help them discuss issues with the supervisor and suggest ways to deal with the problem,” Lawson said. “We can go into an organization, do an organization analysis and provide some type of training to help them deal with their issue, we work with supervisors to help them learn ways to improve communication skills, we can provide training on stress management, anger management … sometimes it’s teaching them how to challenge their own thinking patterns.”

The goal is to give employees the resources needed to return to work and the ability to perform their job. It is a goal Lawson said most people also have when they come to EAP.

“Sometimes it can be difficult when you’re dealing with the other issues,” Lawson said. “But we can equip them with skills and practices to go back and not be dependent on us.”

If there is an issue that Lawson feels requires assistance beyond his capabilities, he can refer them to someone else in the community who can provide continued services. Appointments are preferred, but Lawson said he will not turn away walk-ins. To schedule an appointment, call (706) 791-8500.

Fort Gordon EAP is co-located with ASAP at 202 7th Avenue, Building 38702. The office is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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