Five Employee Assistance Program referral agents honoured for their years of service

Referral agent Laurence Sianchuk was awarded with a certificate and years of service pin
Referral agent Laurence Sianchuk was awarded with a certificate and years of service pin, presented by Scott Donald, Acting Manager, Mental Health and Well-Being & EAP (left), and Natasha Khattar, Senior Manager Total Health Management (right). Photo: Simon Schuck

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On November 15, 2018, a special event took place to recognize five peer referral agents for their contribution and years of service with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (internal link). Laurence Sianchuk has been volunteering with the program to assist civilian employees for 23 years, and Medhat El Nakady, Willow Vokey, Sheila Sparkes and Deborah Chaplin have been volunteering their services for ten.

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  • Referral agent Willow Vokey was awarded with a certificate and years of service pin
  • Referral agent Sheila Sparkes was awarded with a certificate and years of service pin
  • Referral agent Medhat El Nakady was awarded with a certificate and years of service pin
  • Referral agent Laurence Sianchuk was awarded with a certificate and years of service pin

A confidential and voluntary service, the EAP helps civilian employees deal with personal or professional issues that may be affecting their performance at work. Employees, as well as their eligible family members, can call at any time to talk to a mental health professional. For almost 40 years, approximately 2,000 civilian employees and their family members have been turning to the EAP annually.

“It offers the option of speaking to someone who is empathetic and not judgemental,” said honouree referral agent Laurence Sianchuk, describing the impact of the program. “It provides an option that is relatively risk free for those who are feeling overwhelmed by a life situation.”

A referral agent is a Department of National Defence (DND) employee trained to be an active listener who helps employees in the workplace experiencing personal or work-related problems by referring them to available resources. The EAP is designed to help individuals dealing with a variety of issues including: relationship and family concerns, conflicts in the workplace, emotional and psychological issues, financial or legal difficulties, substance abuse, gambling problems, elder care, etc.

“The biggest accomplishment of the EAP over the years, It has helped to keep this Department a great place to work,” said honoree referral agent Sheila Sparkes.

“Employees know they have a safe and confidential place to turn to when they are experiencing challenges at home or at work,” said honouree referral agent Willow Vokey, when describing the significance of the program. “We don’t counsel, but we certainly can help them find the appropriate assistance. There is no better feeling than hearing the words ‘thank you.’”

To contact an EAP referral agent or learn more about the services that the program provides, please see the How Can I Access Help? intranet page.

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