Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Providers
Welcome to the EAP section of the Veterans Employment Toolkit. As an EAP provider you play an important role in helping service members and Veterans transition and succeed in the civilian workplace. Thank you for your commitment to serving those who served! In this section you will find resources and materials for clinicians working with members of the National Guard or Reserve and Veterans who are transitioning to civilian work environments. Review the list below for a number of helpful tools.
Want to learn more about how to support Veterans in the workplace?
The North Carolina Employee Assistance Providers Association, together with the Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP) at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Greensboro Area Health Education Center AHEC have partnered to create a free online continuing education course, Employee Assistance in the Civilian Workplace*, for EAP providers focusing on transition and readjustment issues in the workplace and the role of the EAP providers in supporting service members, Veterans, and their families.
Army OneSource* offers several free online continuing education courses for behavioral health professionals on topics related to understanding the deployment cycle, military families, and PTSD.
Looking for military cultural competence resources for EAP providers?
Many EAP clinicians report they would benefit from more information on how to support Veterans in the workplace (Aetna Survey, 2012). It is important to remember that Veterans are in many ways just like other employees. They may seek EAP services for a variety of work-related and personal problems, and they require the same empathy and regard for their unique experience as their civilian peers. While each Veteran’s experience is different, learning about military culture can help you to build rapport, ask important questions, and provide culturally competent care.
The first step is to identify whether your client has served in the military by screening for military service. A basic military history screen can be included in the intake process. The VA’s Community Provider Toolkit offers a basic military history screen* and includes guidance on what to ask and how.
For a comprehensive one-hour course designed to familiarize clinicians with military culture, terminology, demographics, and stressors, see the PTSD 101 course entitled “ Understanding Military Culture.” The Center for Deployment Psychology also offers an online course* for civilian mental health providers to help them better understand and communicate effectively with service members and their families. Army OneSource* provides a free online continuing education course for behavioral health professionals on military cultural competence. You can also explore the “ Understanding the Military Experience” section of the Community Provider Toolkit, which includes a wealth of information for providers working with Veterans in community settings. For supervisors and managers, share the Veterans Employment Toolkit page “ Understanding the Military Experience” as it provides useful information on military structure, culture, and deployment designed to help employers better understand and support Veteran employees.
For additional information about using military cultural competence when counseling Veterans check out these articles: “ It’s Not all Guns and PTSD: Counseling with a Cultural Lens* ” and “ What Military Parents want Civilian Providers to Know.* ”
Want to learn more about common readjustment issues impacting Veterans in the workplace?
It is important to note that the majority of Veterans make a successful transition to civilian work and life. However, transitioning is a process that takes time, and can pose a variety of challenges for the transitioning service member and his or her family. By being aware of common challenges new Veterans face, as well as the strengths Veterans bring to the workplace, EAP clinicians can support both Veterans and their supervisors during the transition process.
Common readjustment challenges related to returning home include things like reconnecting with family, creating new routines, creating structure, and adjusting to a different pace of life. Common readjustment challenges in the workplace include adjusting to a different pace of work, adjusting to a work environment that may be more competitive and individualistic, and learning the nuances of language and of culture in the new workplace. To learn more about the military experience and deployment, check out our Military Deployment page and the Common Challenges During Readjustment to Civilian Life handout.
Afterdeployment.org offers a Work Readjustment* page that includes a self-assessment, workshops, and videos, all geared towards helping Veterans with their return to civilian work. The Work Adjustment Assessment* asks respondents to rate how confident they are in their ability to handle challenges related to the work environment. Additionally, a manual* , entitled “Work Adjustment", is provided and covers common readjustment difficulties including boredom, overlearned survival strategies, sleep-related difficulties, concentration problems, asking for help, and strategies for succeeding at work.
Want resources to share with Veterans in the civilian workplace and their supervisors?
In collaboration with Aetna, the Department of Veterans Affairs is creating a series of handouts to assist Veterans and EAP providers with managing common workplace reintegration and adjustment challenges.
Interested in how to support Veterans with specific behavioral and mental health needs?
While most Veterans transition successfully to the workplace, just like their civilian counterparts, some Veterans will come to EAP for additional support for a broad range of behavioral and mental health issues. These issues are not unique to Veterans, but many of the resources below were developed specifically for Veterans and clinicians working with Veterans.
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Visit the Smoking and Tobacco Use mini-clinic on the Community Provider Toolkit for information on treatment and educational materials. Stay Quit Coach is a mobile app designed to assist with smoking cessation as an enhancement to face-to-face care with a health care provider.
Maketheconnection.net offers resources for Veterans facing a variety of challenges, including stress and anxiety. The VA website gives an overview of different anxiety disorders, VA programs and services, treatments, fact sheets and resources.
The Community Provider Toolkit offers a Substance Use Mini Clinic for Veterans that includes information on treatment, educational materials, and screening tools.
The Department of Veterans Affairs website has a mental health section that includes articles, fact sheets, and other resources for depression and other common mental health concerns Veterans face. Maketheconnection.net offer comprehensive information on Veterans with depression. NAMI offers a fact sheet* on Veterans and depression and Afterdeployment.org* has resources to share with Veteran clients including a depression workbook, self-assessment, treatment options, and more.
The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached 24 hours a day; call or text 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1). They also offer support on their website via chat. See the Suicide Prevention Mini-Clinic on the Community Providers Toolkit for more information about suicide prevention for Veterans.
Intimate Partner Violence
Resources for Veterans faced with intimate partner violence (IPV) can be found on the VA website and the National Center for PTSD. These links take you directly to useful information including definitions of IPV, prevalence of IPV in Veterans, and important information about staying safe and getting help.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD can occur after someone experiences a trauma, like an automobile accident, natural disaster, or military combat. Effective treatments for PTSD are available. To learn more about PTSD and treatment options visit the Professional Section of the National Center for PTSD website.
You can also learn about PTSD from VA clinicians and Veterans on the AboutFace website. This website features a video gallery of Veterans talking about living with PTSD and how treatment turned their lives around. It also includes informative videos by clinicians who have treated Veterans with PTSD.
America’s Heroes at Work offers a free 45 minute online training* for supervisors and hiring managers looking to understand and support employees with PTSD and related challenges. And finally, the Community Provider Toolkit offers a PTSD mini-clinic including a brief PTSD screen that can be used to determine if further assessment, treatment, or referrals are needed.
A behavioral health issue, such as symptoms related to PTSD, does not have to limit the employee’s performance. For information about accommodations, see the Challenges & How to Help section and scroll down to the “Disabilities” section. For information on your role as a mental health provider in requests for reasonable accommodation at work see the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).*
Connecting with the VA
Veterans may be eligible for services through the VA. For guidance on eligibility and referral, see the Connecting with the VA section of the Community Provider Toolkit. Also see the Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans & Families.
Additional Resources for EAPs Working with Veterans
Read leading practice recommendations* developed by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and created for companies looking to utilize EAPs in support of Veterans.
See Value Options*, a site that provides a variety of materials to help EAPs support Veterans’ transition and foster a Veteran-friendly workplace.
Read an article* by a Veteran and masters student in clinical mental health counseling discussing the transition from military to civilian life.
Check out the list of do’s and don’ts for civilians when interacting with Veterans.
For social workers: the National Association of Social Workers offers a free 5-course online training Social Work and Service Members: Joining Forces to Support Veterans and Military Families.*