Main Line: 202-559-3900
Donor Help Line: 202-559-3888
Toll Free: 1-888-35PSYCH
Email: [email protected]
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are an underutilized option for people to connect with needed services and support. Today, Julie Fabsik-Swarts, CEO of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association or EAPA, joins us to dispel myths about EAPs and discuss how EAPA is making a positive difference in supporting EAPs and people through difficult times in their lives.
Resources from the Center for Workplace Mental Health:
Darcy Gruttadaro: Hi and welcome. I'm Darcy Gruttadaro, Director of the APA Foundation's Center for Workplace Mental Health, and today's host for A Mentally Healthy Nation, a podcast from the American Psychiatric Association Foundation.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Mental health has moved into a top priority spot for leaders across diverse industries. They see the importance of addressing workplace mental health because it impacts retention, performance, productivity, culture, and more. One key aspect that many struggle with is access to mental health care. Today we're talking about employee assistance programs, an essential way for people to connect with needed mental health supports. We will explore how the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, or EAPA as it's known, is making a positive difference in supporting EAPs and people through difficult times in their lives, including those who may be experiencing mental health conditions.
Darcy Gruttadaro: I'm excited to be joined by Julie Fabsik-Swarts, the CEO of EAPA. She's been in this role for a little over eight months and in our discussions has shared the impressive work she's doing in leading EAPA and her plans moving forward. She's brought fresh energy and fresh ideas to EAPA and the professionals they represent. Welcome, Julie. It's a pleasure to have you with us.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Thank you, Darcy. It's a pleasure to be here.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Okay. Let's jump right in and start with you telling us a little bit about EAPA and your goals for the organization as a relatively new CEO.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Well, that's kind of complex. So we represent the Employees Assistance Professionals throughout the United States and in a number of other countries as well. We have a much bigger presence here, footprint in the US, but we also do reach out and are trying to make headway in supporting individuals throughout the world. So in this organization, I feel like our staff is the team behind the team.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: All these wonderful, amazing mental health professionals are out there on the front lines, helping workers who deal with a variety of different challenges and through time have really needed the services of an EAP. I personally came to this organization because I had experience with EAPs and my family. EAPs are not just mental health, but that is a big bulk of the majority of work that they do. They can do things from elder care and childcare to domestic violence, to a variety of different home things. Anything to keep the employees functioning and living their best life in their positions. And it supports corporations because employee turnover is not good for business. So it's a win-win. It's good for the employees and their families. It's good for the corporation and industry to make sure that their employees are successful and hence making the organization successful.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah, that's really great. And one question I have is we've heard about data and national data showing that EAP use is not as high as it should be, and that it runs around three to 5%. Again, kind of national average. Those are the numbers we've heard shared. So my question to you is, what innovative practices are you seeing to increase use of EAPs and to have employees really take advantage of this great resource that's there?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Well, let me step back first. And let's address that statement of EAPs are not as utilized. First of all, that study, those kinds of studies really focus on the number and percentage of employees who use straight counseling and while important, we don't want to take anything away from that. EAP work can be so much more than that. And it can be so many, as I just said, so many more aspects of employees' life. So I do take issue with that being the statistic. Dr. Mark Attridge just put out our 2021 workplace outcome suites. And there's a lot of very interesting data that really kind of takes issue with that normally thrown out their 3 to 5% usage rate.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Second, I really go back to how do you measure the value of something that doesn't happen? Maybe because an EAP was there, you didn't have a gun violence situation, or maybe because an EAP is there, my friend got counseling. Or maybe because an EAP was there, you didn't have someone commit suicide, maybe even on the job and impact all their coworkers. So how do you measure the value of the thing that doesn't happen?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: And finally, I think we do need to stop thinking about having to see it in order to value it. We have medical insurance. If I don't get cancer this year and don't use my medical insurance, should I do away with it next year? My employer doesn't need to pay it? No one ever thinks of that. That's crazy. You would never do that, right? You wouldn't say, "Oh, well I didn't get a cavity this year, so I don't need dental insurance." It's just the way we're thinking about mental health and EAP support is just archaic.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: And we need to think about it in a much more progressive, wholesome kind of way, rather than just how many people actually went to a counseling session? Regarding the technology that it's evolving out on the market. I think it's a wonderful tool for EAPs to be able to connect their clients with maybe they can't get into a psychiatrist or psychologist or even a counselor on a timely basis. We're hearing three to four months before they can get in if you use your regular health insurance, but it is a great tool to be able to get somebody into a service that they don't have to travel across country to get or wait on long wait lines.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Having said that, I don't think the technology replaces an EAP. In no case have I ever seen anyone saying, "I got a massage chair at home, therefore I would never want to go to a masseuse again." It's a great tool to help the different levels of EAPs and the variety of different ways they work. But I don't think it's a hundred percent replacement, as I said. It's a great asset for the support system.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah. So that brings me to the question of anecdotally we hear people say, "Well, there's an 800 number, there's a website. We went to see connection with support and counseling. We never got a call back." There is sort of this idea that there's not the receptivity on the other end of either an 800 number or a website connection that people want and need. So I want you to dispel that myth for us as far as what you're seeing with your members when it comes to really being available for people within the EAP.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Just like health insurance, some companies are wonderful and some are not. And we need to be voting with our wallets and with our opinions to our employers that say this company didn't respond. But overwhelmingly I have not seen that to be a real big issue. I really want to go back to the fact that EAPs, the person itself can make such a difference. I'll give you an example. Dr. Dan Hughes, who is the head of the EAP program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City has a very, very large workforce. I think he said something like 42,000 people. And they figured out along the way that they can't sit back and wait for somebody to come and knock on their door. They're being very proactive, especially in the crisis that COVID caused and all the stress and real mental health issues that the medical staff face there. Really, what they do is they really beat the bushes.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: They really want to connect with supervisors and colleagues. And when they hear about a nurse who's had a rough shift, they've been assaulted physically, they've been assaulted, maybe a racial slur or an insult. They go out and reach out to that nurse and say, "Hey, I heard something happened at work the other day. Do you need to talk about it?" And often they check back with a call in three days and see how it's going. And in this way, they're able to really connect with people and deal with the issues before they become real problems.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: He also was telling me how the first responders, the EMTs that go up in the ambulances, a lot of them are like police and fire and are veterans. They have a real macho kind of community. We don't need anybody. But when someone dies on the job, boy, it really makes a difference when the EAPs can step in there and head off some of those challenges, head off some of the depression and anxiety and things that are naturally happening, and see how they can help them break through those barriers and really get the help that they need.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah. And you've mentioned a couple of innovative ways in which Mount Sinai and others have reached out. So I want to kind of drill in a little on that in terms of what is being done innovatively. Because we hear, and I know some people say, "Well, we just heard about the EAP through the onboarding process. We weren't reminded that it's there at really key times." So kind of interested in, what have you seen that employers have done that's been really effective to drive up utilization when it comes to EAP services?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: So what the studies tell us is that it all starts from the top. When your CEO stands up and says, "We're all human. And sometimes I need help too. And I've reached out and I want to encourage you when you need that help, please. That's why we have it there for you. We want you to use the EAPs." And then that there's regular ongoing conversations from the HR staff and from the EAP leaders that they can reach out and say, "It's okay. We're having a thing this week, come on down or dial into this Zoom." You never know what someone needs or when they need it. So the best message is to have leadership have an ongoing plan of how they promote this to embrace it personally, to say, "I have it there. I think it's of value. I think it's something that's worthwhile and I want to encourage you to use it."
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: And then continue ongoing. It's like a commercial. We don't see it once. We need to see it over and over again. And it's okay. It's confidential. What you tell an EAP is not going to run back to your boss and they're going to say, "Oh, well, Julie's suffering with this anxiety right now." No. It really is confidential. And it's really a great sense of mental health or problem solving for the employee. And that's really the bottom line.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah. I'm really glad you brought up the confidentiality issue because we hear that too, as a concern that people are fearful of having negative job consequences or not having advancement opportunities or plum assignments if they seek support because they'll be perceived as not quite up to the task. So that's a really important point. And the leadership point, we talk a lot at the Center for Workplace Mental Health about the importance of leadership in setting the culture overall. If people see leaders talking about mental health, if they see mental health highly visible within the organization, it's much more likely that people will feel like it's okay for me to seek help when I need it.
Darcy Gruttadaro: So really that whole idea of leadership really resonates with us because that's been our experience overall when it comes to mental health. So I want to talk for a minute about what we call the market disruptors, those who are providing digital solutions either in the EAP space or providing online counseling. Some using AIs, others allowing people to connect with counselors. I just want to get your read on some of these disruptors, especially those that use AI and also coaching and kind of a whole array of services and how that plays into the work you're doing at EAPA.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: I think it's a great tool. But I think it really needs to be in concert with a great leadership program led by a mental health professional. And EAPs are those people in the workplace. And I'm always amazed how many people don't even know they have this great service. I forget what the number is. I want to say 6.7 million people. The companies have EAP programs, yet I bet you I walked down the street and asked a hundred people. If I got one, I'd be impressed. So we really have a public relations and a branding issue that is on our board and staff's radar that we are going to be working with in the future to really try and get folks to understand what the EAPs do and how many people have access to it. Furthermore, I really think that EAP is kind of an odd name for it.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: It is assistance. It is a program, but in that we have CEOs and chief financial officers and chief marketing officers. I heard someone coin as a chief mental health and wellness officer. And I think that's really the bottom line. That's what they should be called. Leadership on that level and really being able to have those employees that have that expertise have a seat at that table of C-suite leaders to really make sure that the employees are taken care of and that we're able to support them so that they stay for the long term.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah. I think this idea of rebranding is a very interesting one because we've seen that play out with some organizations that call it something other than an EAP. That is a bit of a dated term for some people. So what's really important is that people connect with services and supports, whatever you call it. But I think people associate EAP with sort of a dated concept. So I'm really happy to hear that you are focused on amplifying the real services that are available and thinking about how do we help people understand the value that EAPs bring to organizations? So that's fantastic news. Also, I should say very quickly, there are internal EAPs and there are external EAPs. So when it comes to EAPA, I assume you cover both. And I'm just interested in how you see the work that you do differently when it comes to the big corporations that have internally EAPs versus maybe mid or smaller size that have external only. So just curious about that whole dynamic.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Well, I'll throw you one more. There's a third category. It's the hybrid. So maybe they have that 800 number on the external, but they also sometimes they have people coming in. There's value in all of it. The real value is that the EAP person can go in there and find out what the problems are, assess and forward the challenges out to someone who can help someone in the long term. So an EAP is not going to be set up to take you through counseling sessions for the next year to deal with your challenges. They're going to get you to the people that are going to. They're going to diagnose, and they're going to get you to the people who treat. It's almost like triage on a certain level. Even more so, they're going to be there for when an organization really needs them.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Give an example. There was a hybrid person who I met when I first came on board, who was a hybrid to a very large university. And they had a gentleman in the department who was not doing well in performance. And he kept talking about his guns, his guns, his guns, his guns, and how unhappy he was. And really made his coworkers quite uncomfortable. And so the EAPs went in and ended up in a nice long conversation, really did quality assessments. And in the long run, they realized and got the gentleman to realize that technology was going to keep evolving. And it wasn't his strong suit. And he was going to struggle. And he had earned the right to retire with dignity and a certain financial package. And they walked him down to the HR and he retired happily and no one went home unhappily and everybody got to go home. Let's say that.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: As opposed to, I just moved into the Virginia Beach area a little less than a year ago. And one of the first things I heard on the local television show was, I believe it was a father, who was suing the city of Virginia Beach because his daughter had been shot and killed while working for them. And he kept saying on the news, it just struck me. "Why didn't anybody pick up that this guy had a lot of guns and he was mad. He was angry. Why didn't anybody pick this up?" And I keep thinking, my gosh, if they had an EAP program, it would've been so cheap. So little cost compared to now the grieving of this father, the lawsuits that are happening, the other employees that had to go through the same gun violence, the grieving of loss of this person on the job, and the long-term PTSD and ramifications of that position.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: It's astronomically in the millions. So you can be penny wise and pound foolish, my mother used to say, in terms of being a CEO and wanting to get that return on investment. Indianapolis, another gun violence. We have just so many of them. It's part of our culture. And if an EAP can help resolve that, or if something happens, someone dies. COVID we've had almost a million people die. How does that EAP deal with the grief? How do they get that grief counseling going? How do they support those individuals so that you keep them going and keep them employed and work continues to go on?
Darcy Gruttadaro: Well, you did raise the pandemic and I'm glad you did, because it's been a really rough few years. And we have seen rates of anxiety and depression going up, especially among younger people. And I wonder how EAP professionals are addressing this surge. Are there adequate numbers of them? Are they overwhelmed? What does the landscape look like out there given what we've been through in the pandemic and racial and political tensions extremely high in this country and the economy being sort of all over the map?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Well, you kind of hit the nail on the head. So when the pandemic happened, we all sent everybody home, right? Everyone's going to be safe, locked in their house. Well, depression and anxiety is through the roof. I think it's come to us so clear that we are a very social kind of animal and the lack of interaction, the lack of human touch, the ability to hug your coworker when something happens or shake a hand, even just to talk about things that happened to your family around the water cooler, or the football game last weekend, people really lost. And even look at children. They're really suffering too. And that really played out in a lot of issues with mental health. In addition, now we're starting to go back and now we have the other extreme. People are petrified.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: There's a tremendous number of anxiety going back to work. We have had what we call, we originally started calling a pandemic call every Wednesday at noon eastern. Any member of ours can dial into our Zoom call. We have a facilitator. And what I noticed about it, it was more than just a best practices of how are you handling this. But it became the ability for EAPs to say, "Hey, it's okay to take a day off. It's okay to have some self-care," because the EAPs are working around the clock. You asked if there was enough for them. Not even close, not even close. We have real challenges that we don't really have the next generations coming on board the way we'd like. We want to appeal to nurses and counselors and social workers and psychologists who want to expand their practice and change their direction.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Maybe you're burnt out on what you traditionally have done. You worked through an ER through COVID. Maybe the nurse's next act in their career is becoming an EAP. It's really a unique niche that is very fulfilling for a professional who believes in helping and giving back. Most of the EAPs that I talk to say, "When I found this, I knew I was there. That was my life's work, and I'll never ever leave it." It's a passion that is beyond passion. So on our Wednesday calls, now we're saying Wednesday wellness calls, but I kind of joke that it's our own version of therapy for our EAPs because they can help each other say, "It's okay. We're doing right. We're doing everything we can." And they really have been challenged, but are really rising to the task. And it's a tough level. It's a high bar that they've been asked to jump, but they are stepping up over and over. I've never had a shortage of being impressed by these folks.
Darcy Gruttadaro: So from what you've just shared, it does sound like the professionals that make up EAPA have all different levels of degrees. Can you speak to the credentials that they typically have? Is it diverse? And if so, what does it cover?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: So there are those individuals who have a primary licensing. So maybe you're a social worker or you're a nurse, or you're a counselor, and that is your primary license, but maybe you get into the EAP world. We do offer a certification called the CEAP, certified EAP. And we've just revamped it. And it's in the last, I want to say four months, we've gotten through about 140 brand new CEAPs, and we're ready to bring it out internationally. You never realize how much American you put in something until you try to take it out internationally. But we are working on what we call CEAP global. It is not something that we want people to...
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: We want to encourage those licenses to come over and practice EAP work, but there are other opportunities out there that may need you. Dr. Jody Fry at the University of Maryland actually has a master's in social work program that's focused on EAP. And we are really building a consortium, trying to encourage more universities on the graduate level to consider EAPs as a part of the curriculum or a focus of the curriculum. So we'd really like to see that happen more. And then, as I mentioned earlier, we really want to encourage the next generation of individuals who are in community colleges and undergraduate programs consider if this is their niche and they enjoy working with people and they might want to be full-time in a company. They might want to be a hybrid. They might want to be a counselor on an 800 line, a whole bunch of different opportunities.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Additionally, we also train the Department of Transportation program. It's called an SAP, substance abuse program, and the thousands of thousands of truck drivers, pilots, boat captains, if they test positive for drug or alcohol within a certain amount of time of having to work, they can be suspended or fired. And our SAPs are working with those people to get them back behind the wheel if appropriate. Sometimes it may be through counseling, maybe sending them to a treatment center or maybe working with them on a one-on-one basis and getting them back on the road or back in the air. So it's a really wonderful program. And in conjunction with our CEAP, we really want to encourage more professionals to get those certifications.
Darcy Gruttadaro: What a great way to connect with people that are really in need. So I wanted to ask you too, kind of what are the core issues on the minds of EAP professionals and as a leader of EAPA, what keeps you up at night?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Well, as I just mentioned, we really need the next generations to be coming along. Most of our members like myself are beginning to show a little gray on the roof, are beginning to think about retirement and we want to continue to bring the next generation on. So that's a biggie. We want to be growing the support we have for our members. We want to create more education, more opportunities for them to network, to learn, to practice their skills and to really thrive. We want them to live their best lives so that those that they serve can live their best lives. I like to think we're the team behind the team behind the workforce that keeps America humming.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: And the thing that also keeps me up at night is that CEO that doesn't really go out in the trenches, that doesn't hear about the mental health issues that are out there. Every study I see is just overwhelming how much is happening out there. And to save pennies per person, when you can potentially win dollars in the long run. You may gamble. It's like going out with car insurance. You may never get in that accident, but if you get in that accident and you don't have insurance and you get that car totaled, you're out of luck.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: So I want to encourage those in positions of decision makers to really, really work with their EAPs. They're a great resource in how to support your workforce, how to lead your workforce and to really keep your workforce healthy, both physically and mentally. So that's the bottom line and we really want to see that happen. Also, EAPA has its roots in the alcohol addiction space, and we want to continue to support with alcohol addiction and drug addictions that we can help people conquer those diseases and move forward. And again, live their best lives.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Just to get back to what you just shared about really having CEOs that are paying attention to these key issues around mental health and people struggling with suicidality or drug or alcohol issues. Do you have sort of an ideal way? Because many of our listeners are employers. So I'm curious, what would you say to an employer about what they should be doing to really make that connection at the leadership level with their EAP?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Go have a lunch with them. Go spend a day with them. Go see what they do. Go really connect on a visceral level. Really talk with them, not just in a perfunctory higher level, I'm the boss kind of level. But really get down and hear what their challenges are. Hear what your workforce is about. I think when you're too far out of the trenches, it's sometimes really hard to know what's really going on. EAPs really tend to have a real handle on what the challenges their workforce is facing. So go spend a day.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: I remember years ago, I worked for a president of a university that spent a day putting on a maintenance uniform. And it was interesting he said, because people looked at him differently. But he got a real eyeopener of what the students were going through, what the staff was going through and what his janitorial staff felt like. And I encourage the same thing. Go spend a day out with the EAPs. Of course you can't violate confidentiality situations, but really get to talk and make them part of your regular check-ins of how your workforce is doing and listen to their advice. They really have amazing vision and background and suggestions. And the value of it is not every company is the same. Your company may be different than somebody else's company. And by having that access of that person, they can really help you shape what that program should look like and works best for your employees.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah. And we have actually heard about some organizations that have done joint presentations, like a virtual town hall or a Zoom presentation with staff or with teams or with leaders, just as a reminder that these are the services available. These are some of the issues they've been addressing and can address to remind people it's there and to make the EAP more visible, especially if it's done with leadership to say this is important to us and we want you to know these services are available.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Absolutely. It is the best way to connect to your workforce, by leading by example. And if you can step up and say, "I utilize this. I do this. Everyone's a human being. We all have times that we are thriving and times that we're in need of help. And we all need help sometimes. And there's no shame or a stigma or embarrassment in that."
Darcy Gruttadaro: I was actually doing a presentation with a CEO of a construction company who was in the audience. And he said that when he goes out... It's a small construction company, granted it's not a huge corporation, but it's a construction company. And he said when he would go out to see his therapist he would send a note saying, "I'll be at my therapist. I'll be back in an hour." And I thought, wow. And he's the CEO. And I thought that's a great message to send that mental health matters, that I take care of my mental health and that I'm engaging in self-care and therapy. And I just thought that was a great example of openness around leadership and the difference that can make.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Absolutely. No one would think twice if you said, "I'm going to the doctor because I have a broken leg." Or, "I'm taking a couple of days off cause I have a broken leg." But if you said, "I'm really struggling right now with my anxiety." People look at you like they must be lazy. They're just blowing off work. We know they're not really... And in some cases that is absolutely a valid health condition that we need to respect and support.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Yeah. And I think that's slowly changing and it's so great to see that mental health is really, as I opened with, has really become a higher priority and people have a better understanding. We have a ways to go, yes. But we've made some real progress. So I want to just end with asking you about a futuristic look at EAPs and what's on the horizon? What are you most excited about?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: I'm excited about bringing EAPA to the table. For a long time, EAPA has not been part of the conversation when there's a healthcare law on the books coming due. Or EAPA's not been a conversation when CEOs get together, where human resources leaders get together. We want to be part of that conversation. And we want to make sure that EAPs are recognized and thought of as part of that leadership team that makes a company really function well. We have EAPs in the Senate and every part of government, we have an EAP there. Yet it's never talked about. Do you know the US Army does it? We have EAPs throughout. One of our members, very interesting gentleman, Mark Bird. My understanding is he gets a call from the FAA, him and his team whenever a plane goes down. The investigators go out and before those investigators can go to the hotel at night, they have to come through the EAP team to make sure they're in a good place. And they see some challenging things. And fascinating line of work. Who'd have ever thought that there's an EAP team out there working with the FAA?
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Unsung heroes, but people who are making things happen. And it's really a crucial part of that success story. So I do salute all the people who are on the front lines, making the team behind the team. And I have an amazing staff that are really working night and day to make our organization the strongest it can be and provide the best service we can for all our members. And I also want to thank all the partners we have out there from NBC to SHRM, to NASW, NAMI, Mental Health America, and so on that we've been reaching out and growing with and really seeing how we can partner together and make all our memberships better.
Darcy Gruttadaro: Well, that's wonderful. And I know you reached out to me and we were more than happy to talk about forming a partnership. And we're excited about the direction you're taking the organization in. I think this is really important work to amplify and raise the visibility and really put EAPA on the map because I think unsung heroes is a really great way to describe the dedication of many in the EAP field. And I think there's a huge opportunity to really put a more positive light on the important work that they do. So I want to thank you, Julie. It's been really great to talk with you and we're excited about continuing to partner with you and grow our opportunities to work together and help you in the work that you are doing in amplifying the great work of EAP professionals.
Julie Fabsik-Swarts: Thank you, Darcy. And thank your organization. We have enjoyed our beginning partnerships and I know it's going to be bigger and better down the road. And thanks for everyone who works in mental health. We really appreciate the work you do.
Darcy Gruttadaro: And thanks to our listeners for joining us. If you'd like to learn more about the work of the APA Foundation, please visit us at apafdn.org, where you will find free high-impact resources and how we're working to create a mentally healthy nation. You can also visit the APA Foundation Center for Workplace Mental Health at workplacementalhealth.org. If you enjoyed today's podcast, please share it with a friend. I'm Darcy Gruttadaro, hoping that you all stay well.
Speaker 3: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual speakers in their personal capacity only, and do not necessarily represent the views of the American Psychiatric Association foundation or the views, official policy, or position of the institutions and organizations with which the speakers are affiliated. The content of this podcast is provided for general information purposes only, and does not offer medical or any other type of professional advice. If you are having a medical emergency, please contact your local emergency response number.