Happy New Year! We survived 2020 quarantined and all.
If you're employed or still have employer benefits, making to the new year also means your benefits have reset! Deductibles are at zero, those changes selected during the open enrollment period are now active, and you can now focus on new areas of your health. Guess what else has reset; your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) benefit. What does that mean to you? Let me tell you.
The Employee Assistance Program is a voluntary employer offered program that is set up to confidently assist its employee with personal matters and resets every year. This benefit is different from your elected benefits during open enrollment that only covers you, your spouse and your dependents. This benefit covers everyone in your household. Yes, even your great-uncle that lives in the back room and only comes out on holidays.
Benefits provided by EAP benefits include and are not limited to financial planning, debt counseling, and mental health therapy. Here are some ways you can use EAP to support your mental health.
Contacting EAP when you need immediate mental health assistance - sudden feelings of depression, thoughts of harming yourself or others, unexpected death to name a few. There is someone available 24/7 to assist you when needed.
Find a therapist to work with regularly - The most helpful benefit in my opinion is the free sessions you get to help you find a therapist. Most EAP programs offer 4-6 session per year. It is true for some that expenses as it relates to mental health are not budgeted. If that is the case, no one wants to use their money "looking" for a therapist. Call EAP, get your free sessions code and a list of therapist in the area if you need it, and "shop" around. There are some programs that will start your number of sessions over if you feel that you and your proposed therapist aren't a good match.
Use for Mental Health Check-ins - If you're not interested in attending therapy regularly, you can use EAP sessions to check-in quarterly with a licensed professional to ensure you're on track with your mental health goals
Start family therapy/couples sessions - Tuff conversations with family around traumatic events or everyday life may be hard to do without a professional. There is an allotment of sessions available to start working on family issues and relationships too
Reach out to your EAP to see what options they have for you and begin the journey to better Mental Health.
Now if you’re not employed and still want to invest in having great mental health, there are some things you can do to that won't break you pocket.
If you have a therapist and your employment situation has changed ask if there is a sliding scale option available for you to continue treatment
If you don't have a therapist and want to get started, there are a plethora of services online that are available to assist with finding and matching you to a therapist. I've listed a few below
Online-Therapy - https://www.online-therapy.com/?ref=227058
- Offers plans for every budget the best one is $50 per month and includes a live session with a therapist once per week.
-Link offers 20% off 1st month of services
Talkspace - https://bit.ly/2X2VmVS
- Once a therapist provider that offered telehealth services without insurance, Talkspace now accepts insurance, accepts EAP, and can be paid with Flex Spending Accounts.
-Great option for someone who's not interested in going to an office for therapy or to use as you can go from an insurance paid service and can transition into a self pay option with monthly plans.