New support for Synod employees

New support for Synod employees

Around one million Australian adults experience depression and anxiety every year.

On average, one in five women and one in eight men* will experience depression at some stage of their lives.

When mental health is not optimum it impacts on life at home and at work.

Relationships suffer and job satisfaction and productivity levels can quickly go down. But the cost and the trouble of locating an appropriate service can be a strong deterrent to people accessing the help they need in difficult times.

To counter this, the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT (through Uniting Resources) has put in place an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that makes help accessible to Synod employees and their immediate families, free of charge.

AccessEAP provides a confidential and voluntary counselling service that offers support when personal, family or work issues impact an employee’s health or quality of life.

All employees of all Synod entities now have the opportunity to discuss concerns with professional and experienced counsellors and obtain assistance to resolve issues before they adversely impact on themselves or others.

The following EAP counselling services are provided at no cost to employees or employing entities:

•     Counselling — face-to-face, telephone and online counselling;

•     Manager Support hotline and counselling;

•     Emergency counselling available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year;

•     Legal counselling;

•     Financial counselling; and

•     Referral to specialised services.

AccessEAP currently supports a large number of not-for-profit clients in social services and has been providing EAP services for many years to a number of the Uniting Church entities.

All full-time, part-time and casual employees are entitled to use the service.

The service does not include volunteers. It does, however, extend all Synod staff, ministers, chaplains and their immediate family members, excluding congregation members.

Immediate family members are defined as the employee’s spouse, de facto spouse and any non-adult children or stepchildren living under the same roof as the employee.

The church will provide each employee family with up to six one-hour counselling sessions each year. If an employee should require long-term counselling the employee’s counsellor will discuss the options available to them.

Counselling on offer includes specialist options for couples counselling, working with children and drug and alcohol issues. AccessEAP also offers support for workplace issues.

Employees can AccessEAP via this confidential, free-call number: 1800 818 728.

*Figures from Beyond Blue

How does it work?

Sarah*, an employee of the church, contacted AccessEAP on the 1800 number to receive support regarding high anxiety. Her home life had recently taken some turbulent turns and it was affecting her ability to cope with workplace demands.

She spoke to a Client Services Consultant and was asked for the name of the entities she worked under, her name and telephone number and was registered for the counselling service.

Sarah was referred to a counsellor, close to her home suburb, with nine years’ experience in managing anxiety disorders.

Over the 12 months, Sarah used six one-hour counselling sessions.

The counsellor worked with her to develop coping strategies and anxiety reduction techniques to manage her high levels of anxiety and increase her level of health and wellbeing.

For both employees and entities the cost of individual counselling is free of charge.

*Not her real name.

EAP Counselling is useful when individuals:

  • Find themselves being distracted by personal problems at home or work;
  • Repeatedly get tired, sick or are having excessive days off work;
  • Feel emotionally drained or depressed;
  • Regularly run late or keep missing deadlines;
  • Find themselves too often being involved in conflict;
  • Have excessive gambling problems;
  • Are affected by substance abuse;
  • Have difficulty dealing with financial problems;
  • Struggle dealing with grief; or
  • Find they are becoming burdened by everyday concerns.


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