A DOUBLING in demand for Employment Assistance Program services has prompted Newcastle firm NewPsych Psychologists to expand its city footprint.
NewPsych has leased 10 new practice rooms on the first floor of the old Newcastle Herald site at 28 Bolton Street, close to its headquarters on the corner of Bolton and Hunter streets.
Practice founder Tarnya Davis said the relocation of her business to the modern "green" headquarters in 2017 had largely contributed to the addition of 12 staff to her team, taking it to 50, and the EAP increase.
"We moved away from the medical model to a really comfortable space with beautiful furnishings, lots of natural light, speakers with piped bird sounds and a tree inside - things that are quirky and different," she said.
Ms Davis said the increased EAP demand was driven by three factors.
"Firstly, the bigger organisations that have traditionally used a national provider have been dissatisfied with the level of service, so they prefer to go now to a big practice like mine with the capacity to meet all their needs but also have a relationship with them," she says. "Local organisations want someone who knows them and their people so they can get on the phone and say, "I am worried about his person', which a national provider can't do."
The second factor was that more small and large businesses saw the value and importance of such programs in a workplace and were approaching NewPscyh for a "responsive" service.
Thirdly, the community had a better understanding of the benefits of seeking psychological help and realised the confidential EAP was an affordable avenue.
"Once upon a time it was fine to have a chaplin wandering around the workplace, now we know that people need professional, evidence-based treatments," Ms Davis said, adding that NewPscyh offers a crisis response service and training.
Ms Davis said those using an EAP typically sought guidance with work-related issues (such as restructuring, redundancy, pressures) and also the personal (including anxiety, depression, trauma, adjustment).