Sometimes we all need an outlet, a safe space where we can share our feelings without judgement. Whether we are dealing with situations big or small, having someone to listen and provide tools to guide us through can make all the difference. Lynn Wesley Burton, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Rochester Regional Communications Manager, found her outlet through GuidanceResources®, an employee benefit that provides Excellus BlueCross BlueShield employees and members of their household with a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through ComPsych®. The program offers counseling, legal and financial consultation, work-life assistance, and crisis intervention services.
Connecting with a counselor
Lynn’s experience with EAP began when her father passed away in 2007. At the time, she was working at another employer but continued using the service as an Excellus BCBS employee. “When I started working at Excellus BCBS, it was one of the first things I looked at to see if it was offered as part of our benefits package, and it was,” shares Lynn. Getting started with EAP was as easy as a phone call to speak with a GuidanceConsultant℠ – a counselor who collects some general information and talks with you about your needs. “They asked me what I was experiencing, what I was looking for, and what I felt comfortable with,” remembers Lynn. She explained her current situation to the GuidanceConsultant℠ and that she would prefer a female counselor that she could visit in person. By the end of the conversation, she had the name of three potential counselors and an authorization number.
Fortunately for Lynn, she clicked with the first counselor she contacted. “Right off the bat, I knew she was somebody that I wanted to work with and who was good for me,” explains Lynn. Flexibility was also high on the priority list for Lynn, so finding a counselor who could work around her busy work schedule was extremely helpful. She found the experience so valuable that she continues to see her counselor today.
Healing from grief and loss
Throughout the years, Lynn turned to her counselor to help deal with grief and loss, first with the death of her father, and years later her mother and brother. “Many of the benefits for me came from having someone who was neutral, who was not family, and who was not one of my best friends, in order to give me the tools to look at things differently, to look at things objectively,” says Lynn. “If there were times that I just wanted to sit and cry, I did.” Through counseling, she worked on finding her new normal after experiencing loss. She focused on self-care so she could handle her day-to-day activities, her job and be there for her family. “This was the most important thing I could do for myself to maintain my mental and physical wellbeing,” explains Lynn.
Help for the happy times
While we may think of seeking out counseling for traumatic situations like the loss of a loved one, Lynn reminds us that mental health support can be useful in a variety of circumstances. “One important thing that I would share is a lot of people go to counseling for stressful situations or unfortunate incidents that happen in their life, and they need some help. I also needed help with some fantastic things that were happening in my life and being able to manage those.” For Lynn this included starting her new job at Excellus BCBS and getting engaged, all within a two-week period. Coming from a previous role working in television news where she was connected to work continuously, adjusting appropriately to her new job was a priority. “My wellbeing and work-life balance was more important than being connected all the time. It was something I had to learn, and it was something I never really understood was possible until I started at Excellus BCBS,” she explains. With all the excitement of a new job and planning a wedding, her counselor helped to remind Lynn to live in the moment, enjoy the process, and not forget the important things including herself. “No matter what is happening in your life, good or bad, to have someone else sit and listen and support you and help you talk through things is extremely beneficial for your wellbeing.”
Don’t hesitate to make your mental health a priority
One of the most valuable things Lynn has learned throughout her journey is how to adapt and adjust to situations using the tools around her. This includes writing in a journal, exercising regularly, and focusing on healthy eating habits.
If you are considering using the EAP or seeking out other mental health support but have been hesitant to take that next step, Lynn offers this advice, “Your mental health and wellbeing are first and foremost, you are important, and you matter. There is nothing selfish about taking advantage of a benefit that could help you in the long run.”
For Lynn, having this benefit available through her employer was vital. It meant that she had the support she needed and didn’t have to look for help on her own. “If this benefit wasn’t available, I don’t know that I would have done it on my own because it is a lot of work. Having the support made all the difference.”
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefit for Excellus BCBS employees
The Employee Assistance Program is provided by ComPsych® Corporation and offers free short-term counseling to Excellus BCBS employees and their dependents. Some of the reasons to contact EAP include:
- Feeling overwhelmed balancing work and family demand
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
- Grief and loss
- Child or elder care concerns
- Legal or financial questions
- Substance use concerns for you or a dependent
To learn more about the EAP and other wellness programs offered to Excellus BCBS employees, visit the Excellus BCBS careers site.
Are you looking to take the next step in your career and make a difference in others’ lives?
We have the right fit for you. Positions are available in many departments including Customer Care, Operational Excellence, Marketing and Sales, Information Technology, and more. Check us out at careers.excellusbcbs.com. Get to know our people and our values, and grow your relationship with us. For more information, reach out to Director of Talent Acquisition Jason Helsdon at Jason.Helsdon@excellus.com.
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