This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Questions &Answers

Published: March 31, 2005

Donald S. Kreger is an investigator with University Police and committee chair for the UB Employee Assistance Program

What is the Employee Assistance Program?
In a nutshell, the Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, is a free and confidential information, assessment and referral program. UB employees facing a variety of personal or work-related problems may turn to EAP. It's a benefit administered through joint labor/management committees, both on the state level and here at UB, and funded through a combination of state, campus and union-negotiated money. Employees seeking help work with specially trained current or retired UB employees, called coordinators, who are hired by the UB EAP Committee. Another part of the Employee Assistance Program is education. Not only do we sponsor programs to educate employees on pertinent topics, such as domestic violence, but we also conduct training for supervisors so that they know what their role is in relation to helping their employees and EAP. We're also more than happy to speak or have a table at meetings and conferences. EAP has been around for more than 20 years as a statewide program and was run here at UB by CSEA before that.

What types of problems/issues/concerns does EAP assist with?
Traditionally, many people think of EAP as a program for people with drug and alcohol problems. People can and do come to us with addiction problems but, in reality, EAP deals with just about any issue or problem that might be affecting an employee or a member of his or her family. Some of the most common issues people come to us with are job-related problems or what we might classify as career counseling.

Has there been an increase in requests for assistance in light of local/national issues such as the county budget crisis and the war in Iraq?
We haven't really seen a recent increase in requests directly related to any local or national issues, but we want to make sure that people know we're here to help when they need it. What sometimes happens is that one issue may make another problem someone is affected by even worse. The individual may have been able to deal with the first issue just fine, but when the second problem comes along, the person feels overwhelmed and can't handle either problem. He may have been pushed over the edge, so to speak. That's when he might come for help.

Who is eligible for EAP services?
It's really fairly flexible. Everyone who works at UB, and members of their family, can take advantage of EAP. We've never really turned anyone away. The only person that wouldn't qualify is someone who works for a private contractor on campus.

How does one access help?
There are a number of ways. The best and easiest is to call one of our coordinators. They have telephones dedicated only to EAP that only they will answer. After calling, people can meet with a coordinator personally at the EAP office, or even someplace off campus; whatever they want. Barb Christy and Betty Stone work out of our office at 101C Fargo in the Ellicott Complex. Neil McGillicuddy works at the Research Institute on Addictions at 1021 Main St. Barb's telephone number is 645-3166, and her office hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Betty's office hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Neil doesn't have EAP office hours, but can be contacted at his office throughout the day at RIA. His telephone number is 887-2498. Each of the coordinators has other responsibilities, which may take them away from their phone or office, so if someone calls and they aren't in, I urge them to leave a message. Coordinators regularly check their voice mail, even on weekends. People seeking help also can see a coordinator at the EAP office during office hours, assuming one is in that day. Another way to contact a coordinator is by email. If you go to our Web site at, you can find more information on EAP and our coordinators, including links to their email addresses.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?
One question many people have about the program has to do with confidentiality. Is what the employee speaks about with the coordinator going to remain between the employee and coordinator, or will others find out about it? Confidentiality is an important issue for us, too, and we want people to know that their visit to EAP is as confidential as it can be, by law. We encourage employees who are concerned about confidentiality to discuss this issue with the coordinator before they talk about anything else. Coordinators don't keep any written records of visits by clients. The only record they may keep, if the client elects to use it, is a form to waive confidentiality. Sometimes people want the coordinator to tell a supervisor or other person that they've gone to see EAP. There's more information on confidentiality on the EAP Web site.