Personal Support Program

History & Mission

 The PSP, a union-based employee assistance program (EAP) began providing services to AFSCME-represented employees and their dependent family in August 1992.  Some union members had raised concerns to the union about the highly variable quality of services in the state’s non-professional EAP of that time.  As a result of state and union contract negotiations, it was agreed that the state would pay a per capita fee, per year, to the AFSCME Benefit Plan & Trust (ABPT) to set up and run the PSP.

The ABPT hired a Certified Employee Assistance Professional to create and manage the PSP statewide. PSP now employs eight full-time, licensed and certified mental health and employee assistance professionals, and contracts with over 40 individual or group counseling practices around the state to provide services to members and their families.  In all, PSP provides in-person services from close to 35 locations throughout Illinois. Since its inception serving members employed by the state, the PSP has been negotiated into many additional employer contracts.

AFSCME is committed to helping its members realize their full potential and the PSP helps members address issues that create personal difficulties, and/or jeopardize job performance or security.  PSP expands AFSCME's tradition of service to those it represents by providing professional assistance when personal problems are experienced, and by providing support as individuals go through the process of personal change. The earlier assistance is provided, the easier it is to find solutions.

Individuals seek assistance from PSP for a wide range of personal concerns including stress, family, alcohol and drugs, emotional difficulties, and legal and financial concerns.  Such problems may have repercussions on job performance and referrals are welcome, however, utilization of PSP's services is voluntary.  Individuals access PSP by calling 1-800-647-8776.  PSP will provide appropriate information over the phone or, more commonly, schedule the caller to see one of its trained and credentialed, masters and doctoral level professional staff.

PSP staff works cooperatively with employees and covered dependents to objectively assess and clarify their problem(s).  Some problems may be resolved through short-term counseling with PSP staff.  Other problems may require specialized assistance and are referred to quality, cost-effective, and geographically accessible resources within the community.

Services provided by PSP are free of charge to the program user.  Referrals to outside providers are made to enable individuals to use their health care benefits, whenever possible.

All services provided by PSP to employees and their covered dependents are confidential, except as required by law or regulation.

In addition to the counseling services it provides, PSP also provides consultations and educational seminars on a wide range of topics.

As of July 1, 2001, the state’s Central Management Services contracted with Magellan Behavioral Health to manage its statewide EAP.  AFSCME-represented employees and dependents are not eligible to utilize this program.   A number of state departments, including DHS, maintained their departmental EAPs and PSP continues to work cooperatively with these programs to assist members and dependents.

Since its inception in 1992 PSP has provided free, professional and confidential services to over 25,000 individuals and families around the state of Illinois.