Picking up the phone and admitting you need help is not an easy thing to do, especially if you are stressed or anxious at the time, but it is the first important step to accessing a wide range of support to help you. There's some practical guidance below to explain the process, to try and take away some of the unknown for you, so making the call is easier. Find out about what other people went through on our case studies page.
What Happens When You Call?
1) You will get a recorded message about 1m 10 seconds long. This message covers the confidentiality and legal requirements of the service. It states that calls are recorded for training purposes, includes their data protection message, states that the service is provided at no cost, is confidential and that information is not shared with the employer unless there are "child protection concerns" or that that there is "an immediate threat to oneself or others", in which case they have a duty of care to alert the relevant authorities. You can ask about this if you want to later also.
If you see a counsellor face to face they will also talk about confidentiality and their duty of care towards you.
2) You then get three options:
- Press 1 for legal info
- Press 2 to speak to a counsellor
- Or hold for general service enquiries
3) You may get a hold message saying staff are busy, please hold or you can leave a voicemail.
4) Someone will pick up and introduce themselves. They will ask what institution you are from as they have different contracts, look it up on their database, read the relevant contract briefly.
5) They will have a conversation with you and try and find out what support would be best for you.
You can just say you would like to find out what support is on offer, and how the process works.
You can potentially access telephone counselling, face-to-face counselling, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The type of support depends on your responses to a series of assessment questions. Depending on your score after the assessment, a referral will be made.
If your score is higher than the set threshold, you may be referred back to your GP or the local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme. IAPT services provide evidence-based treatments for people with anxiety and depression.
More information on IAPT and details of local IAPT services are available on the NHS website.
You can end the conversation at any time and you do not have to take up their recommendations. You can call back at any time also.
What To Think About Before Making The Call?
Employee Assistance ProgrammeTelephone Helpline Tel: 0800 1116 387
- Do you want to make the call on your own, or have a colleague sit with you for support?
- Have you found a quiet, safe place where you won’t be overheard? Book a meeting room, sit in your car, call from home.
- Have you thought about how you may feel afterwards? The conversation may open up a range of feelings for you, positive and negative, so you may want to make sure you have some time after to process those feelings, rather than go straight into a meeting/back to a busy office
- Are your support network available afterwards? You could call on a day when you are catching up with a close friend after work/for lunch, or at let a friend or partner know you are making the call that day in case you need their company
- If you think it may help, have you informed your line manager? You don’t have to at all, but if you have a good relationship with them, you may want to let them know, in case you are upset afterwards, or want to make the call in work time. They may have suggested you to call, or, you may be calling due to feelings about them. It’s up to you if you do this.
View our Case Studies page to see examples of conversations and support.