For more than 30 years, the Daviess County Public School System has partnered with a local advisory service to provide employees and their families with an Employee Assistance Program.
The EAP is a benefit offered free of charge to all district employees. Employees can anonymously access the counseling service through Owensboro Health, the district’s current partnership for services, and can seek help for a variety of needs, including stress, anxiety, depression and more, according to Amy Shutt. , DCPS Deputy Superintendent for Social Services.
According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, EAPs are voluntary, work-based programs that provide free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, and more to employees with personal and / or work-related issues. job.
While the district recognized years ago the need for mental health support for staff members and their families, there has been a resurgence of national interest in these types of services since the beginning. start of the pandemic, Shutt said.
The need for this kind of help for everyone has never been greater than it is today, she said.
Over the past two years, DCPS, along with Commonwealth Districts, have increased support for students by hiring more counselors. This, along with socio-emotional learning and other programs meant to foster student positivity, has been paid for through federal coronavirus relief funds.
School staff give a lot to students every day, and it is important to encourage them to also maintain healthy work-life balances, said Shutt.
The district “strives to be employee-centered by supporting the overall well-being of employees, which includes mental health,” she said.
The EAP is one of the many areas in which the district provides this support.
During the spring semester, the district will encourage staff to participate in monthly wellness activities.
“Mental health and physical health are linked, and we want every employee to be the best version of themselves every day,” said Shutt. “To put children first, we need to focus on overall health and support our employees. “
Jared Revlett, Public Information Officer for Owensboro Public Schools, also recognizes the importance of providing these services to employees, especially at this time.
He said the city’s school district offers supports similar to DCPS for its employees, but through its current benefits program. He does not have an EAP.
“An EAP is something the district plans to incorporate in the future,” he said.