Employee Counseling on Sharp Rise, Reports Corporate Counseling Associates

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Consulting firm experiences 15 percent jump in counseling employees under severe stress.

These employees report their problems are having significant impact on their job performance. CCA's goals are to get these employees back to acceptable job performance and help the organization successfully move forward.

As the volume of employee assistance counseling swells, three stories embody an all-too-common theme:

  • A stock broker blames his own company for helping to cause the recession; his financial situation, his family and their future have been upended. He describes his situation to an EAP counselor as "fighting fires" constantly both at home and at work.
  • A 65-year year old man, recently widowed, is laid off from his banking industry job. Despite supporting a disabled teenage son, he may have to sell his home, and turns to his EAP for emotional support.
  • A 37-year old woman calls her EAP with financial and legal issues, particularly a huge credit card debt that she can no longer manage. Her marriage is "over the edge," and she needs referrals to assist with divorce, debt consolidation and depression.

All three stories have a common thread: employees who have turned to their employee assistance program to deal with overwhelming stress. These and other cases are being addressed by workforce consulting firm Corporate Counseling Associates (CCA), the provider experienced a 15 percent rise in severe worker stress cases in September and October 2008, compared with the same time frame in 2007.

Even more troubling, the increased volume is accompanied by a rise in severity, say CCA experts. As the firm's utilization numbers climb, so do the severity of work and personal problems. Counselors are working with more suicidal, severely depressed, severely anxious clients—employees and managers alike who are struggling to maintain their work performance.

"People are calling for help with multi-faceted, complex situations, including both financial and psychological issues," said Bob Levy, CEO. "They include families losing their homes, individuals mired in emotional distress, and people with tremendous debt who are experiencing intense anxiety."

CCA is assisting individuals and families with credit and debt management, psychiatric evaluations and medication, and referrals for continued counseling. Counselors are calling 9-1-1 on a weekly basis for assistance with emergency client evaluations and transport to local hospitals—most commonly for acutely suicidal patients. CCA is responding to immediate crises as well as fortifying clients to prevent future emotional meltdowns.

In response to the situation, CCA is also providing on-site services for employees at client organizations, including seminars on money management, stress management amid economic uncertainty, and change management, which addresses how to adjust to new economic conditions and balance work and life needs.

"This is a crucial time for employers to make use of their EAPs and mitigate the risk the current economic crisis presents to their organizations," added Levy. "These employees report their problems are having significant impact on their job performance. CCA's goals are to get these employees back to acceptable job performance and help the organization successfully move forward."

Levy advises employers to use their EAP proactively to deal with critical people issues created by the downturn. "Companies shouldn't make their employees or managers work hard to get help," he said. "Maintain your EAP's visibility and have counselors and services readily available and on-site, if necessary."

More importantly, EAP services are also designed for managers and senior leaders, to help them address the workplace and performance issues that worsen during difficult economic times—retention, dis-engagement, absenteeism, lowered productivity, fear of job loss, resentment towards employers, anxiety and lower morale. Training and consulting for managers is vital during these difficult economic times.

About Corporate Counseling Associates:
Corporate Counseling Associates (CCA) started in 1984 with a passion for helping people, and remains committed to helping companies get the most from their workforce. Key service offerings include EAP & Work/Life, Risk Mitigation, Learning and Organization Development and Human Capital Consulting. CCA fields a full-time staff of industrial and clinical psychologists, social workers and counseling professionals. For more information, call (212) 686-6827 or visit http://www.corporatecounseling.com.

Media Contact:
Georgia Critsimilios, Corporate Counseling Associates
212-686-6827

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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