Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Battling the `Holiday Blues'

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Battling the `Holiday Blues'

Article excerpt

The holiday season brings festive decorations, cheery moods, lots of good food and holiday gatherings with friends and family -- for most people.

But for some, the holiday season can bring depression, loneliness, stress or fatigue; all more commonly known as the "holiday blues."

In addition, many people will overindulge in food and alcohol. Some will take their credit cards to the limit. Others will become physically sick, while still others will have to cope with increased pressure to get everything done.

If you or your employees are experiencing the holiday blues, a phone call to your employee assistance program may be in order. An EAP can provide a wide range of services dealing with psychological and workplace conflict, marriage and family issues, stress-related problems, and financial or legal difficulties.

Many of the stresses can negatively affect employee attendance and well-being, as well as employee morale and job performance. Most EAPs offer counseling and referral services designed to reduce absenteeism, tardiness, health care costs, and work-related injuries and accidents while improving productivity and morale.

Employee Assistance Programs are usually designed to allow employees, and members of their immediate families, to self-refer. In some instances, supervisors may initiate contact with the EAP through either recommendation or referral.

If an employee asks for assistance in solving a personal problem, a recommendation -- made in private and in a supporting manner -- to the EAP may be appropriate. When personal problems seem to be affecting an employee's work performance, the supervisor can make a referral to the EAP. In many cases the EAP can address issues that may be contributing to the decline in work performance. Employees should be made aware of the confidentiality of EAP activities.

If your company doesn't have an EAP in place, there are a number of providers of services from which to choose. Your medical insurance provider would be a good first place to start. Many local mental health professionals provide EAP services, in addition to other companies that offer complete outsourcing of employee assistance programs. For more information on EAP's, contact the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (www.eap- association.com), the Employee Assistance Society of North America (www. …

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