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Robins EAP helps people cope with the effects of furlough

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga -- The idea of managing life's financial responsibilities on a much tighter budget than one is accustomed to could give anyone a migraine headache.

If you've been anywhere near a group of Defense Department civilian employees lately, you've probably heard talk of carrying sack lunches to work, cutting back on entertainment and mention of many other ways to trim personal household budgets in light of the furlough.

The Employee Assistance Program, also known as EAP, offers DOD civilians and their household members stress management training, improved coping skills, financial and legal services (through the national service center), supportive counseling, and marriage counseling, help with troubled relationships, depression, stress, emotional concerns, substance abuse, and more.

Jamie Tillit, one of two licensed, professional counselors in EAP at Robins, said the program helps DOD civilians handle various life problems on a short term basis and also provides referrals for federal employees and family members.

"The policy is that employees are allowed six sessions per problem," she said. "Other services are available on base such as Military Family Life Consultants or Airman and Family Readiness Center. Insurance will cover off-base counseling (in most cases)."

Aside from counseling, Tillit said making small lifestyle changes can help ease financial stress. "Hopefully employees have been saving since furloughs were first mentioned," she said. "Other things you could do is to cut corners where possible. Eat out less. Bring lunch. Combine errands to save gas or carpool."

What to know
For EAP assistance, call 497-7577 or 497-7683 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Employees are seen on an appointment basis only. EAP counselors are located in Bldg. 207, the Occupational Medicine Clinic, Room D160 and D156. For 24-hour assistance, call 1-800-222-0364.