AccessEAP blog

A Guide to Sleep Hygiene

In Australia, 2 in 3 people* report having at least one sleep problem. Sleep is necessary for healthy functioning of the body and brain and impacts how we interact with one another and show up in the world.

When our busy modern lifestyles clash with our natural sleeping pattern, aka, our Circadian Rhythms, we need to look at ways to mitigate the impact of inadequate sleep.


Here’s our guide to sleep hygiene:

Take in the morning sunlight

Natural blue light from the sun helps regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easier to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. Finding a sunny spot first thing in the morning helps you get the right light to wake up properly.

2024 Wellbeing Calendar - Q3 Sleep

The AccessEAP 2024 Wellbeing Calendar and Quarter 3 Pack has launched! Ensuring a good night's sleep is an essential part of a healthy body and mind and we believe the best way to improve our sleep is to understand more about it. That's why we've developed out Sleep resources pack.

Download the Quarter 3 Pack - Sleep
Access the calendar and the Q3 Pack (Poster, Infographic & Activity) via the Employee Portal -

Q3 Pack + Suggested Training & Services
The calendar along with leader resources and suggested training & services is available via the Employer Portal- 

Upcoming key awareness days in this quarter includes:

  • 7-14 July: NAIDOC Week
  • 11 July: World Population Day
  • 30 July: International Day of Friendship
  • August: Tradie’s National Health Month
  • 7 August: Aged Care Employee Day
  • 7-13 August: Dental Health Week
  • 7-13 August: Loneliness Awareness Week
  • 30 August: Wear It Purple Day

If you have any questions, call AccessEAP on 1800 818 728 or reach out to your AccessEAP Main Contact. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

Support through a traumatic event

Traumatic events impact lives physically and psychologically, creating intense emotional distress for individuals, families, and whole communities. Organisations play a vital and valuable role in assisting and supporting their employees and their families in the immediate aftermath and in the days, weeks and months following tragic events.

The immediate focus is to ensure that everyone is safe. At this present time, particularly with intense media coverage and access to information on the internet, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a heightened state of emotion for everyone involved. It’s important to be aware that everyone will respond differently, and everyone’s needs will be different, initially and over time. Being prepared to provide initial and long-term support for people will enhance and promote their own personal coping strategies and resilience.

  • If needed, allow additional time at home to spend time with family and friends - this helps them to feel safe and connected, and reassure others of their safety.
  • Make sure your people have access to support information and numbers - specifically the EAP and any other services you may have in place.
  • Create an environment that allows people to talk amongst themselves about fears and hopes related to the tragic events. Openly sharing with others has been known to promote personal recovery. There is also comfort in a shared community supporting one another.
  • Be mindful and respectful of individual needs. Some people may feel uncomfortable or scared of sharing their feelings. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel.
  • Establish an open-door policy that allows people to seek the appropriate care when needed.
  • If possible and when appropriate, try to establish normal routines as soon as possible.
  • Encourage people to communicate their needs, rather than assume you know what their needs may be.
  • Maintain communication if an employee is away for any length of time.

An incident of this nature has the power to entirely consume those involved, especially when it has an impact on one’s feeling of safety and one’s family. As leaders and managers, it is within our control to provide support, reassurance, and care. 

For further guidance download 'After a Traumatic Event' pdf brochure, which can be shared with your people.

Manager Support is available on 1800 818 728

Booking Portal Scheduled Maintenance - 10 May 2024

We would like to advise that our booking portal will undergo scheduled maintenance on 10 May 2024, from 8:00 am to 2:00pm (AEST). During this time, the portal may be temporarily unavailable. Please try again at a later time.

Our team is still available to support you by calling 1800 818 728. If you need urgent support, please call us directly.

This maintenance is essential to ensure the optimal performance and security of our systems. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding.

Thank you for your patience while we complete this work.
AccessEAP Team 

LGBTQIA+ Support Line

Our counselling services are conducted in an inclusive and non-judgemental space utilising the specialisations of our counsellors, psychologists, and social workers to the very best advantage. Our LGBTQIA+ Support Line is answered by trained and supportive consultants. We will be using pronouns to identify ourselves and we’ll be asking our clients how they would like to be addressed. We go a step further as AccessEAP will also provide ACON’s Pride in Health + Wellbeing Program training and support for all of our people, to ensure that communications, policy, documents and procedures are in line with best practice.

Those calling the Support Line will be offered counsellors that we have verified as being trained and/or have experience working with the LGBTQIA+ community, not only for issues related to gender and sexuality but also a broad understanding of the barriers, obstacles and generally different issues that LGBTQIA+ community experiences. Please feel free to make specific requests in order for us to find the most suitable counsellor. Our Customer Services Consultants will work hard to use culturally appropriate language and we welcome feedback to continually learn and improve our service.

We want people to feel they can be who they are and feel they belong.

Call the LGBTQIA+ Support Line on 1300 349 950

Leadership Series - How to promote a socially and emotionally healthy workplace climate

Shari Walton, Organisational Development Consultant

Promote a socially and emotionally healthy workplace climate by adopting specific combinations of leadership behaviours and strategies

Leading a team has always presented challenges and this has only continued to increase recently. With burnout rates going up and new legislation requiring organisations to proactively address psychosocial (emotional and social) hazards, new research suggests leaders can create a safer and higher-performance work environment by developing specific combinations of leadership strategies.

Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, explains that specific combinations of leadership behaviours shape an employee’s mindset, experience, and quality of work. Leaders can better create a psychosocially safe climate by moving away from authoritative leadership and demonstrating consultative leadership and supportive leadership styles combined with challenging leadership.

Consultative leadership encourages employees to support each other and seek each other’s input. Challenging leadership encourages employees to aspire to do more and encourages the expression of creativity, sense of empowerment, and desire to learn and improve. All these factors have a direct and indirect effect on psychological safety.

Cultural Competency Training for AccessEAP

Our journey towards cultural competency. At AccessEAP we are committed to developing cultural competency across our business. For us that means providing the best possible experience for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers. By increasing our cultural awareness and knowledge of historical events impacting the nature of trauma experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees today, we offer the opportunity to develop more culturally appropriate EAP holistic support services. In order for us to authenticate our commitment, AccessEAP is investing in the ongoing development of cultural sensitivity within our workforce by offering online Cultural Competency Training for all employees.

Arrilla Cultural Competency Training is the first step in this process aiming to empower all AccessEAP employees to gain knowledge, skills and confidence to work more effectively with Indigenous colleagues, customers, companies and communities, or while working on Indigenous projects or strategies. The training is also designed to improve understanding and the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider, diverse Australian community. As we all move towards Indigenous cultural competency, so too will organisations. Although we have a dedicated Culturally Competent Team with a depth and breadth of experience and knowledge we don't purport to all be overnight experts - it will take time. Together, we’ll create a better environment to help Indigenous people thrive, and we’ll enable organisations to benefit from a more productive workforce.

Update on our RAP journey

AccessEAP’s reconciliation journey has progressed with the planning of the Reflect component of our Reconciliation Action Plan, now completed.

Some of the changes we are implementing include:  

First Action Plan 2023- 2027 - National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children

The role of organisations in helping to end violence against women

Marcela Slepica, Director, Clinical Services

On October 17th 2022 State and Federal governments released the National Plan to end violence against women and children. This 10-year plan includes a framework of actions to end violence against women and children in one generation. It highlights how all parts of society including governments, businesses and workplaces, media, schools, and communities must work together towards a shared vision of ending gender-based violence.

The statistics are very confronting. 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15, 1 in 6 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabitating partner since the age of 15 and 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous cohabitating partner since the age of 15. The rates are higher for certain groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women1.

To address these staggering figures, the National Plan has 4 domains: Prevention, Early Intervention, Response and Recovery, and Healing. The government has now released the First Action Plan (2023 2037). The First Action Plan provides a roadmap for the first 5 year effort towards achieving the vision of the National Plan. It sets out the initial scope of activities, areas for action and responsibility with respect to outcomes, and outlines how they will make the commitments set out in the National Plan a reality. Read more about the First Action Plan and the ten action items they are committing to implement here.

Leadership Series - Prioritising the people side of change

Shari Walton, Organisational Development Consultant

Prioritising the people side of change will help to create a psychologically healthy work environment where employees feel comfortable asking for help, sharing suggestions informally, or challenging the status quo without fear of negative social consequences. An effective team values psychological safety as much as physical safety and performance standards.  When this is the experience of individuals and teams, organisations are able better to innovate, leverage the benefits of diversity and adapt well to change. A psychologically healthy workplace is a precursor to adaptive, innovative practices, which is very much needed at the individual, team, and organisation levels in today’s rapidly changing environment.

Staying in your comfort zone can feel calming and reassuring in the short term, but it’s not a long-term solution for success. Challenging the status quo can support transformation, alleviate anxiety, broaden horizons and minimise stress.

Recent research suggests that organisations can foster a healthy and successful workplace by supporting and developing leaders to demonstrate specific leadership behaviours that help their employees thrive through change.

Some examples of positive leadership behaviour include:

Video: Learning & Development Training

Learning & Development Training


Video: Accessing your EAP Service

Accessing your EAP Service


Video: Manager Support Hotline

AccessEAP Video Series: Manager Support Hotline

Use this link to embed the video on your intranet, or click the link to download.

Leadership Series - Creating a Psychologically Safe Workplace

Shari Walton, Organisational Development Consultant

Psychological safety is an integral part of health and safety at work. While companies may be aware of its importance, the process of creating a psychological safety strategy and putting it into practice can feel daunting.

The first step is understanding what is meant by psychological safety.

What is a psychologically safe workplace?

A psychologically safe workplace is one that protects people from psychological hazards. A psychological hazard is anything that could harm someone’s mental health.

2023 Wellbeing Calendar - Quarter 2

Quarter 2 of the Wellbeing Calendar has launched! Thriving through change can be difficult so we have created the Quarter 2 Pack to help get you started. 

The theme for Quarter 2 is Thriving Through Change, highlighting the following key awareness days: 

  • 22 April - Earth Day
  • 28 April - World Day for Safety and Health at Work
  • 12 May - International Nurses Day
  • 17 May - International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia
  • 26 May - National Sorry Day
  • June - Pride Month
  • 3 June - Mabo Day
  • 12-18 June - Men's Health Week

Download the Quarter 2 Pack - Thriving Through Change
Access the calendar and the Q2 Pack (Poster, Infographic & Activity) via the Employee Login Area -

International Women's Day - Panel Event Live Stream

International Women's Day is held each year on the 8th of March. This year's theme is #EmbraceEquity.

A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.

For more information about how you and your organisation can get involved including customisable Social Media content, see the International Women's Day Website.

AccessEAP IWD Panel Events

AccessEAP is excited to be running panel events for International Women's Day in partnership with The Kraft Heinz Company. Our influential speakers will share their stories and experiences with equity, diversity and inclusion.

Support through Natural Disasters - New Zealand

Right now, parts of New Zealand are experiencing natural disasters, causing loss and damage. Natural disasters disrupt lives physically and psychologically, creating intense emotional distress for individuals, families and whole communities.

It is important through times such as these to identify those of your people who may have been directly impacted and provide assistance where possible. Events such as these can be challenging, as the combined uncertainty about the immediate situation as well as fear and concern for what may lie ahead over coming days and weeks can exacerbate our thoughts and feelings.

As a leader, your organisation plays a vital and valuable role in assisting and supporting your people and their families in the immediate aftermath and moving forward. We encourage you to help your people feel they can focus on their immediate priorities, which is the physical safety of family, friends, loved ones and their homes and possessions. As a leader, take the time to check in with your people, and where appropriate, remind them that their EAP is available and able to help support them through these challenging times. Many people will want to be seen as “coping” so asking how they are going is really important. Being prepared to provide initial and long-term support for people will enhance and promote their own personal coping strategies and resilience.

  •  Normalise reactions: Accept that people will experience a range of emotions and that it is normal. Once the event is over, it doesn't mean people's feelings go away. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure people that their intense feelings are normal given the disaster.
  • Ask how you can help: Ask if there's anything that you can do to assist employees or if there is anything they need? e.g. flexible hours, transport or belongings. Keep talking to gain clarity on what assistance they need.
  • Do not catastrophise: It is common to reflect on the "what ifs" or "what might have been". Do not speculate on how much worse it could have been. Avoid comparison of stories as each person has a right to their feelings.

To support those that may have been affected by the event, we have included documents for individual strategies (download pdf here) and tips as well as information for managers and leaders (download pdf here). These tools are also available through the AccessMyEAP App.

If you have any questions or would like to better understand what you can do that will meaningfully support your team, the experienced clinicians on our Manager Support Hotline are able to help you help your people. As manager, your individual needs matter just as much. Reach out for support when and if you need it. We are here to help.

The Invisible Load

Julie Chalmers, Associate Clinician

Women’s Invisible Load

The invisible load is a book written by Dr Libby Weaver, which breaks down where much of our stress and overwhelm comes from. This book inspired one of our Associate Clinicians, Julie Chalmers, and is a topic she brought to light during our International Women’s Day Events. We wanted to share more on this insightful topic which affects most women. Whether they realise it or not.

“Our invisible load is the stress we carry, that no one sees, that drives how we think and feel. From the physical load on our body to the emotional load in our mind, this invisible load is what really sits at the heart of our stress. And until we learn to unpack this, reducing our experience of stress will be almost impossible.” Dr Libby Weaver, The invisible load.  

What’s your invisible load?

Invisible loads can look different for each of us. It’s about carrying the mental burden of ‘responsibility’ even when we’re sharing the load or not physically doing the task that responsibility relates to. Perhaps you are the walking family calendar; you know when it’s time to take the dogs to the vet, when the children are due their vaccinations or what vitamins they need to take after dinner each night. Someone’s birthday? You remember to buy a present and send a card. Or perhaps you are the responsible one who manages the family budget and takes care of all the bills. Maybe you’re the planner, planning every detail to the last dot. An upcoming family holiday? You scroll through the latest deals, assess the safest countries, and decide on what is the most affordable spot.

IWD23 Melbourne

International Women's Day 2023 - Melbourne

Changes to the Better Access Initiative

AccessEAP is your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), your proactive mental health and wellbeing service here to support you. Confidential and free for staff, we offer access to counselling, coaching and training. Utilising EAP has become even more important in recent times, with people facing long wait times for counselling appointments through their GP and with the reduction of the Medicare-funded psychology sessions occurring at the end of this year.

During the pandemic, the government increased the number of Medicare-funded psychology sessions each year from 10 to 20, recognising the impact the pandemic was having on the mental health of Australians. In the 2021-22 financial year alone, 1,023,241 additional sessions were provided by psychologists1, highlighting the real need for support. This increase will end on the 31st of December 2022, reverting to 10 sessions.

The decision to reduce the number of Medicare sessions was based on a study from the University of Melbourne. The study suggested the current system was not providing equitable access for lower socio-economic groups and those living in regional areas. The government will convene a forum of experts and people with lived experience of mental illness early next year to assess the recommendations of the University of Melbourne report.

The danger of reducing the Medicare-funded sessions before that review is completed is increased anxiety in the community and more barriers for those with mental health concerns to receive adequate support. At AccessEAP, we acknowledge that people may be concerned and recognise that this change may affect you or people within your organisation. With the reduction of sessions, we encourage the use of EAPs to help bridge the gap with long wait times and to add another layer of support.

We are here ready to support you. Contact AccessEAP on 1800 818 728.

Leadership Series – Character Strengths

Shari Walton, Organisational Development Consultant

A key building block of positive psychology and wellbeing is character strengths. These 24 positive traits were determined in a 3-year research project involving 55 scientists and are manifested behaviourally, cognitively, and emotionally. They form part of the Engagement pillar of Professor Martin Seligman’s wellbeing model, and everybody has experienced at one time or other getting lost in an activity because it is so engaging. This is often referred to as “being in the zone” or in a state of “flow”, a theory introduced by Hungarian-born researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the 1970s. During this optimal flow experience, individuals feel strong, alert, in effortless control and at the peak of their abilities.


Research proposes that everyone has 24 character strengths. These are personality qualities like creativity, honesty, humour, and perseverance. What makes everyone unique, is that some strengths come more naturally to them than they do for others.

When you complete the free scientific VIA Character Strengths Survey, your results will reveal which strengths rank highest and lowest for you. Understanding and applying your strengths will help you increase happiness levels, boost confidence, strengthen relationships and improve work performance. For leaders, they can provide greater insights into individual styles, team dynamics and contribute to developing a high-performing, effective team.


AccessEAP acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples of the lands we live and work on throughout Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters, culture and community as we pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who connect with this website.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have since passed away.


AccessEAP acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples of the lands we live and work on throughout Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters, culture and community as we pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who connect with this website.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have since passed away.