The Employee Assistance Services Unit (EASU) formally known as the “Stress Unit” has been around since early 1986. The unit was created under the direction of former Commissioner Fair to help retain staff within the Department of Correction. The first office was open in Concord, Massachusetts and a second unit was opened at Lakeville Hospital. The purpose of the unit was to provide multi-services to all Department of Correction employees.
The mission of the Employee Assistance Services Unit is to assist employees, retirees and their families with simple to complex challenges, whether personal or job related. Issues presented include alcohol and drug dependencies, debt problems, compulsive gambling, critical and traumatic incidents, job stressors, military support, staff wellness and much more. There are three EASU offices located in Bridgewater, Norfolk and Shirley with a total of seven employees assigned to the unit. Staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year to assist DOC employees, retirees and their families. The EASU staff is motivated by a deep commitment to the well being of staff, retirees and their families and promotes healthy lifestyles to ease the stressors caused by violent crime and incarceration.
The EASU staff functions as “peer counselors” helping fellow employees and their families to address issues affecting their lives. They advance knowledge on how the internal, interpersonal, behavioral and external environments facilitate health, healing and wellness. The EASU staff has an extensive resource directory so that issues beyond the scope of the unit can be addressed by community professionals. While EASU services are at no cost to the employee, retiree or family member, there may be costs associated with community providers or covered by health care insurance.
The relationship between the employee, retiree or family member is confidential. The EASU is bound by the strictest legal and ethical guidelines and cannot release any information without client’s written permission. State and federal laws however, mandate that in cases of child, elder, and disable abuse; or where a person may be a threat to themselves or someone else’s safety must be reported.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact the Employee Assistance Service Unit.
Sergeant Esther Gonsalves
Employee Assistance Services Unit Director
Massachusetts Department of Correction