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Changing workspaces and accessing psychosocial support during lockdown

The Employee Assistance Programme is here to assist HSE employees with a range of psychosocial issues that they might be experiencing

Published: 9 March 2021

Since March 2020 many of us have experienced changes in our workspaces. Frontline staff have dealt with an extremely challenging work environment, in acute settings and community care settings, dealing with large volumes of patients with COVID and non-COVID related illnesses. Those of us who are not required to work in the office have experienced working from home for the first time. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has seen an increase in the number of requests to help staff deal with these challenges.

During the first lockdown of March 2020 and during the current lockdown in 2021 many of us with children and young adults in the home have been tasked with home-schooling while carrying out our work from home. This has resulted in increased demand on our time and added pressure at an already stressful time.

EAP have had a lot of calls were from staff members with young families, whose childcare provider, or family members, were no longer available to them. For many, juggling both work and caring duties has been a big challenge, along with creating a physical space at home that could be used for work. One parent families were particularly affected, as well as couples with one or both partners working on the frontline.

While children and young adults are now starting to go back to their places of learning it is important that we take a moment and check-in with our mental health.

If you need support you can reach out to EAP through the dedicated phone line0818 327 327 to speak to someone who can help.

Many of us with line management duties might be managing staff who are struggling with extra pressures. Managers can use the EAP service to get advice on staff wellbeing and welfare issues. If you have a concern about your staff’s mental health it might be helpful to take the module. Supporting Your Staff's Mental Health: A Programme for HSE Managers which is available on HSeland.

You can reach out to the EAP for help with a wide variety of different psychosocial and mental health problems including:

  • increased anxiety;
  • sleep issues;
  • low mood;
  • feeling of isolation, and
  • substance abuse.

The EAP assesses individual needs and works with the support of Occupational Health, Mental Health Services, Addiction services and General Practitioners to support the person towards recovery and wellness.

Bereavements have been particularly difficult to deal with during the pandemic. The natural way of coming together to support each other has gone, and the funeral process, which has so much healing power, is no longer able to help people grieve. Many people have been left traumatised by a close relative dying in a hospital, or a care home, without being able to be with them or to travel to see them.

The EAP has trained counsellors who are experienced in assisting people who are going through the grieving process. Everybody experiences grief differently, but EAP can provide further supports if you need it.

Support and resources

HSE staff can dial 0818 327 327 to access EAP from anywhere in the country.

For more information about the EAP service and to access an online hub of resources go to


Click here for more information on counselling supports for HSE staff

Click here to access online training programmes on HSELand 


Download and print EAPandMe campaign posters for your staff notice board

Poster 1: EAPandMe Any of us can feel burdened by a work or life problem

Poster 2: EAPandMe For people like me and people like you

Poster 3: EAPandMe Many of us experience stress - team focus