Feature Story: Stress less this season

Mary Deter-Billings headshot

Mary Deter-Billings
Senior Employee Relations Specialist

Mary Deter is the senior employee
relations specialist and has been in
HR at UCO for 4 years. She has both
her bachelor’s and master’s degrees
from UCO. Currently, she is working
on her juris doctorate at OCU. When
not working or at school, Mary enjoys
spending time with her husband Dylan,
and two boys, Ezra and Noah. She is
expecting her third bundle of joy May

Stress less this season

The holiday season is upon us, and along with the decorations, time spent with family and friends, and hot cocoa by the fire, comes the struggle of seasonal depression and balancing work/life stress. During this busy time of year, daily struggles such as grief, addiction, divorce, bankruptcy and exhaustion don’t pause for our convenience.

Striking a work/life balance is important for many of our employees, so the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through our provider Deer Oaks, is a need-to-know for all. The EAP is a free benefit that is available for every full- and part-time, non-temporary faculty and staff member. There is no enrollment required nor any additional pre-requisites. These benefits extend to qualified employees’ dependents and household members, regardless of relation.

Deer Oaks has work/life specialists, who I like to think of as amazing life concierges. With two kids, another one on the way and law school, having someone that can help me make the calls and whittle down a list is invaluable. Reducing the stress of those unavoidable life burdens is just one way we can support the whole you rather than just focusing on the work you do each week at UCO.

Another key feature of the EAP is the counseling portion. Our contract provides a generous model of six confidential, short-term counseling visits, at no cost to you, per issue per calendar year. I’d also like to point out that when an employee uses the EAP service for counseling or for any other reason, their communication with the EAP is always confidential, so you can be assured that your privacy is also maintained when you contact the EAP.

But there is more! Deer Oaks also provides a variety of other helpful services, including:

  • Virtual group counseling and A.W.A.R.E. mindfulness-based stress reduction;
  • a free 30-minute consultation with an attorney, with 25% discount to their hourly rate should you need additional time;
  • access to a financial advisor to assist with helping you work towards your financial goals;
  • credit recovery assistance, should you become a victim of identity theft;
  • Take the High Road program, which reimburses you once a year up to $40 for a one-way cab (or Uber or Lyft even) ride;
  • access to NOLO, which allows you to create a simple will for free;
  • assistance with vacation planning;
  • and even more!

As a bonus, there is a secondary EAP option for a limited scope of employees. For those who qualify for longterm disability through UCO, the Hartford Standard EAP is also available as part of this benefit. Learn more about these benefits on our website, www.deeroakseap.com or email UCO Employee Relations.

Return to front page