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Posted 1:57 pm
September 25, 2012
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Employee Assistance Program to offer SF State staff workplace counseling

Employee Assistance Program information sessions

Eat Right, Live Well: Oct. 30 in Library Room 121 from 11 a.m. to noon or noon to 1 p.m.

Holiday Safety and Welness: Nov. 8 in Library Room 121 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., presented by Human Resources and professor of Holistic Health, Erik Peper.

Happy “Affordable” Holidays: Nov. 14 in Library Room 121 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Holiday Stress: Dec. 13 in HUM 587 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 12 to 1 p.m.

UPDATE Oct. 12: The Employee Assistance Program will feature a variety of wellness programs and information sessions incorporating a wide range of topics including emotional well-being, family life, finances, health and legal services. Open seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis and employees may bring their lunch.

EAP also offers 24-hour online services at MyLifeMatters.com — the login password is “sfsu.” Online services include educational information, care resources, self-help tips, videos and interactive tools.


Come Oct. 1, more than 3,000 faculty and staff at SF State can expect to get a helping hand with various problems.

The Employee Assistance Program — organized by human resources, counseling and psychological services departments and hosted by employee support company Empathia Pacific, Inc. — will provide free aid to faculty and staff at SF State. Services such as pet care, child and elder care, financial and legal aide, training, self-development, coaching and short-term counseling will be available for those who want it.

“The need for a program became apparent during the 2007-09 recessionary period where we began to see the effects of the local economy and its impact on our employees,” said Lori Gentles, associative vice president of the human resources and safety and risk management departments.

According to statistics by Empathia Pacific, Inc., it is estimated that 12 to 18 percent of employees experience personal problems that affect them at home or work.

Empathia Pacific notes that stress is a major factor that drives people to seek out help, with 35 percent of recipients experiencing high levels of stress.

There are other factors that make a person decide to use the services, however. According to Empathia Pacific, 28 percent of people come in because of relationship problems, 26 percent for work and life balance problems, 7 percent because of a workplace issue and 6 percent because of high-risk behaviors.

Gentles believes that University employees deserve the right to free resources that can improve home life, work life and overall productivity.

“The EAP is a comprehensive resource that faculty, staff and members of their household can utilize to address a whole array of personal and professional issues impacting their lives,” Gentles said. “The belief is that employees are better able to manage stressors (if) they are happier, healthier and more productive at work.”

After many discussions, it was determined that the University needed an EAP over a year ago, according to Gentles. One of the reasons was that several other California State University campuses — such as Sacramento State, Fresno State, and Cal State San Marcos — have employee assistance programs.

Venice Adams, facilities coordinator for Campus Recreation, believes that the EAP is a good service for faculty and staff, but is indifferent as to how services may affect the workplace environment.

“I think that it’s a helpful program for staff, and I think it’s great that it’s available,” Adams said. “I think the EAP helps on a personal basis, but it just depends on how it will affect the campus.”

Madeline Dito, a sophomore studying apparel design and merchandising, is conflicted about the program.

“I don’t think an employee assistance program is completely necessary, but it’s not bad for staff to have benefits like that,” Dito said.

Gentles has faith in the program and what it may do for University faculty and staff, and sees EAP as a means of prevention for home and workplace problems that can affect the work environment at school.

“This really is a positive program to help intervene and prevent issues from spiraling out of control,” Gentles said. “If you have relational, alcohol dependency, legal or other stressful issues occurring in your life, EAP resources is a great place to begin to get help. The University cares about its employees and this is an investment the health and welfare of faculty and staff.”