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Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) celebrates 50 years of service

Historically, companies and organizations created Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to address the impacts of alcoholism on employees. Fifty years ago, Washington was no different: The state EAP began in 1972 as the Employee Advisory Service to address alcoholism in state agency workplaces.

Washington State E. A. P. 50th anniversary logo.

Phil Parker, the service’s first director, was the driving force behind creation of the state program, motivated by his own experience with alcoholism. “Personal problems that go unresolved inevitably have an effect on the job,” said Parker in a 1982 interview with The Olympian. “They are the legitimate concerns of managers everywhere.”

“Washington is relatively unique in that it has one of the few state-run programs,” said Darrow Brown, MSW, director of the Washington State EAP. Brown oversees the delivery of EAP services to state and public service employees across Washington.

A message from Darrow Brown, Director of the Washington State EAP. Transcript available below.

While employees have access to EAP as part of their employment benefits, many are not aware of the variety and depth of EAP services. “One of our goals is to ensure each employee knows they have EAP support available and accessible when they need it,” said Brown.

Today, EAP services for employees include counseling, work/life benefits, education, and 24/7 support. While the nature of employees’ concerns may be different today than 50 years ago, the mission of the Washington State EAP remains essentially the same: to promote the health, safety and well-being of public employees.

Just like the program’s first director, Brown wants employees to know the benefit EAP can bring to both their work and personal lives. “There’s more than 100,000 employees covered by the Washington State EAP, serving our state and communities,” said Brown. “We’re serving alongside you, and we’re ready to support you throughout your career, from your first day on the job to the day you retire.”

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Hi. I’m Darrow Brown. I’m the Program Director for the Washington State Employee Assistance Program, which you may know as the EAP. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the EAP. As an employee of a Washington state agency, or a public service organization contracting with the EAP, you have access to EAP benefits.

At no cost to you, the EAP provides short-term counseling, connection to support in your community, and resources to promote your well-being. We’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years. The pandemic has caused sudden and rapid changes in our work and personal lives, and in our communities.

I’m here today to remind you that if you’re struggling with concerns about work, your family, or your well-being, you’re not alone. Help is available. You can request EAP services online at eap.wa.gov, or call us at 877–313–4455.

While the nature of the issues we face may have changed over the last 5 decades, the EAP’s commitment to providing confidential, expert support to public service employees remains the same. Whether your challenges feel big or small, I hope you’ll know the EAP is there for you. Thank you.

Washington State Employee Assistance Program logo.

The Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential program created to promote the health, safety and well-being of public service employees and their household adult family members. EAP provides counseling and other resources to support well-being, address workplace concerns, and help with legal and financial issues. Employees can reach out to EAP online or call 877–313–4455. The EAP is also available to provide confidential and expert consultation to management in a variety of areas. To find out if the Washington State EAP serves your agency or organization, contact your supervisor or human resources department.

Links to external websites are provided as a convenience. The Employee Assistance Program and the Department of Enterprise Services do not endorse the content, services, or viewpoints found at these external sites. Information is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the counsel or advice of a qualified health or legal professional. For further help, questions, or referral to community resources for specific problems or personal concerns, contact the EAP or other qualified professional.



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