Free counseling available to public school employees statewide

Free counseling services are available to all public school employees, including their household members, according to the Arkansas Department of Education.

The Employee Assistance Program offers free counseling services through New Directions, where employees can connect with a licensed professional 24 hours a day by calling (877) 300-9103, according to a Department of the Department’s Facebook post. Education.

Beth Maphys, the ministry’s school mental health coordinator, said the service has always been part of the public school benefits program. The only new element is the department’s decision to raise awareness of the resources available to employees.

Maphys said she was in class until June 2020. She said she still had many friends in the class who expressed the stress they are under.

With the quarantine guidelines and the delta variant of the coronavirus, teachers have realized that “it’s happening again,” Maphys added.

She said she believes the initial panic of the pandemic is now part of life and that employees are adjusting to this “new normal” and realizing that they need to take care of themselves.

Services are available regardless of insurance status and there is no deductible or co-payment, according to the post.

Any member of the household, including college students up to the age of 26, can also benefit from free services under this program. Employees or their family members can receive service in person, by text or over the phone.

Maphys added that the ministry’s initiative to educate employees about the resources available to them is important because school districts are run independently, so it might be difficult to send information to all levels.

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