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Article Index
Employee Benefits
What is provided for you?
Self-help: Stress at Work
Self-help: Harassment at Work
Self-help: Alcohol and Drugs
Debt Counselling
All Pages


Information for Employees: What are the benefits for you?

If your employer is affiliated to the service you can access a confidential 24hr helpline and structured counselling service free of charge.

Employee Counselling Service is independent of the employer. It works with over 200 companies throughout England providing free, confidential information, support and counselling away from the workplace.

As an employee you can refer yourself to the service and your employer is only told the numbers who have used the service and the types of issues being raised. The employer does not know who attended.

Employees may wish to attend with their employer?s support and this can be arranged through their personnel department or occupational health service.  Appointments are available Monday to Friday in our Glasgow and Edinburgh offices or at other locations throughout England.

Telephone counselling is available for those who find it hard to attend face to face counselling appointments. Counselling sessions are arranged at a time when the employee can be comfortable and private and the cost of the calls are met by Employee Counselling Service.

telephone off hook.jpg 24hr Telephone Helpline Service

Our helpline is staffed by professional helpline advisers who are available to offer confidential telephone support and information to individuals dealing with health, welfare and work related issues.

It offers immediate emotional support, advice and practical information for personal and work related problems.

All helpline advisers are trained to identify and respond to the emotional issues which may interfere directly or indirectly with job performance. For example: stress, relationship issues, alcohol, substance misuse, depression, anxiety, bereavement and work related issues such as bullying and harassment.

The helpline adviser can answer questions about structured counselling and help organise an appointment.
A valuable information resource 24hrs a day 7 days a week

All helpline advisers have access up-to-date information for signposting to other organisations such as health support groups and many other local services.

Information for Employees: What is provided for you?

Structured Counselling Face to Face or by Telephone

Structured Counselling is a process through which an individual can take time out from their daily routine to consider aspects of their life that need to be changed. The process involves an number of stages:

Clarifying the problem/s you want to solve
This sounds easy, but many problems are interrelated and exploring one may reveal others.

Helping you reach a decision to change

Recognising that there is a problem doesn?t mean you will automatically want to make the changes needed.

Supporting you implement your decision to change

The counsellor will give you support in counselling for as long as it is beneficial. The support is not based on whether you are doing what the counsellor wants, but on the basis that you have decided what you want.

Helping you problem solve

Counselling won?t go on forever. It usually takes only a few visits. The counsellor will help you develop ways of responding to any future problems in your life.

At the first session the counsellor will explain the extent of the confidentiality offered.

Our quality commitments to you:



First appointment will be available within 10 working days from date of contact or an explanation given;

  • Each client will be allocated an individual counsellor;
  • The client will be seen within 15 minutes of their appointment time
  • When a client referred by their employer fails to keep an appointment they will be written offering them a new appointment
  • When a client contacts ECS they will be treated with courtesy and respect,
  • regardless of ethnic origin, sex, age or disability.

This is a FREE, CONFIDENTIAL service, INDEPENDENT of your employer. You can call the helpline for immediate advice and support or you can arrange an appointment for structured counselling sessions.

To check if your employer is affiliated or if they allow self referral telephone free on 0800 435 768 in confidence.

Self-help: Stress at Work


When does stress become a problem?

The stress response can be described as the ?fight or flight? response. It is the way your body prepares to get you out of difficult or dangerous situations. This can be very helpful if you are faced with a challenge during which you need to draw on extra resources to keep your energy level high, but many of the times we experience stress the ?fight or flight? reaction isn?t actually very helpful. If you are dealing with an angry customer or if you are stuck in a traffic jam fighting or running away are not appropriate responses. Instead you tend to get tense and anxious and begin to feel the detrimental side of the stress response.

What to do

If you find you are experiencing stress regularly it is important to try to identify when this happens and ensure that you allow time to recover. If it is part of the job and can?t be changed you need to try to modify your response to it. An example might be that if you are frequently dealing with angry people you must try not to let your body go in to a stress response every time you hear an angry voice. If you can change how your body is responding you should find that you do not feel so tense.

This is an emergency relaxation technique: Tighten all your muscles and then relax them slowly, feeling the tension flow out and the muscles getting warmer and heavier.

If you find that you are regularly experiencing stress or that it is going on for long periods you may find that the things you normally do to relax are not working as well. That is the time to begin to reduce some of the pressure. Identify where the pressure is coming from and what can be changed.







Self-help: Harassment at Work


Harassment is the misuse of power, ability or position to persistently criticise and condemn; to humiliate and undermine an individual, damaging their confidence and self esteem.

If you feel you are being harassed or bullied at work, it is your employer?s duty to take this seriously, investigate any complaint and take action to protect staff from such occurrences. It is not unusual for people who feel they are being harassed to be cautious before making a complaint, because they are not sure what will happen as a result.

There are three options that can be used when you think you are being harassed:

  1. Take no immediate action, but collect evidence for future action if it does not change.
  2. Attempt to change the situation in an informal way.
  3. Make a formal complaint.

If you decide to take the first option, do not feel helpless, there are things you can do:

  • Even if you do not feel able to use the informal route or formal route, you can regain some control.  Make a note of harassing behaviour.
  • Log dates, times, locations and direct or indirect witnesses;
  • Keep copies of any documents that relate to the harassment;
  • Find out if anyone else has experienced similar problems.

You may find that if you do this you have a clear case that you can then take to the appropriate person.

Informal Approach


Step 1
Draw up some specific examples of the unacceptable behaviour: ?Last week you made a personal comment about my appearance that I found embarrassing. ? , ?On Monday of this week you shouted at me in front of a customer.?


Step 2
Draw up a statement of what would be acceptable behaviour: ?We should have a professional relationship and you should not make personal comments.? , ?If you have a complaint about my behavior please raise it with me calmly and in private.? These must be reasonable so that any rejection is unreasonable.

Do not expect an admission of guilt and do not expect an apology, but look ahead to establishing a reasonable working relationship. If such behaviour is repeated this can then clearly be seen as harassment.

To make a formal complaint you may wish to get the support of a trade union or staff representative. Look at your employer?s grievance procedures and understand what would be required of you. Talk it through with someone in confidence before taking the decision to proceed.

Like everything else the earlier you do something about it the easier it will be to resolve.


Self-help: Understanding alcohol and drugs

People use alcohol and drugs to change the way they feel. Dependency can come about due to long term use or when it is used to help us through a crisis in our lives.

The effects of alcohol and drugs often last longer than we think.

Most of the alcohol you drink is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Nearly all the alcohol has to be burnt up by the liver and the rest is disposed of either in sweat or urine. The concentration of alcohol in the body depends on how much you drink, whether your stomach is empty or not, your height, weight, age and sex.

On average it takes one hour for the body to get rid of the alcohol in one unit. For example if you drink 10 units of alcohol (five pints, five generous glasses of wine) it will take 10 hours for your body to be alcohol free. If you drink steadily between 9pm and midnight you will still have alcohol in your bloodstream at 10am the next day. You may well be over the legal limit for driving if you set off to work at 8am.

People using illegal drugs will often assume that their use will not cause problems at work. They may however experience problems such as hang-overs and difficulty getting to work even from recreational use.

If you feel that your use of alcohol or drugs is more than you want or is more than it should be for the job you are doing, get some support straight away. A small amount of help in the early stages of a problem can prevent the need for more substantial intervention later.




















Debt Counselling

Employee Counselling Service has formed a partnership with Scottish Debtline which is the Scottish branch of Consumer Credit Counselling Service (a registered charity).


The two ways of contacting the service are through the helpline 0800 138 1111 or via the website .  


The helpline will get you through to a support adviser who can give immediate advice and support and if necessary make an appointment to meet with a debt counsellor.


The website is however a good first step (for those who have this facility).  Not only does it have answers to ?frequently asked questions? but it has an option where you can begin the process of organising your financial information.  If you click on the section headed "Debt Remedy" you can then start using this process and be given a reference number which will allow you to move in and out of the site while entering the necessary information.  When you have finished you can print out a personalised information pack analysing your situation and making recommendations.  This is completely anonymous.


Should you want to discuss your situation with someone you can then ring the helpline and give your reference number and this allows the adviser to access the information you have collated and give you the best advice much more quickly. 


Should you need to establish a debt management plan they can arrange for you to meet a counsellor to organise this.


The service is totally free.