Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Our EAP provider is changing their name from Benestar to TELUS Health. Accessing services and booking appointments with counsellors will stay the same. Information on how to register and log in to their new platform will be shared shortly.

What is EAP?

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a free, confidential counselling service available to University of Otago staff.

The purpose of the programme is to provide short term, brief intervention counselling. The counselling support can be used when issues at work or personal problems may be disrupting your home and/or work life. Three sessions are available free. In the event of longer maintenance counselling being required this would be at the cost of the individual staff member.

The programme recognises that there are many issues affecting an individual's ability to perform. The programme has been accessed by staff for many different issues, some of which are: relationships, stress, family, workplace, alcohol/drugs, bereavement, and legal.

Find a counsellor and make contact here

For urgent appointments please contact Benestar directly.
Tel 0800 360 364 (free within New Zealand)

Cultural needs

If staff are finding that the list of counsellors is not meeting their cultural needs, please contact Benestar directly or contact Carina Perner, the EAP coordinator.


Tel 0800 360 364 (free within New Zealand)

Carina Perner

EAP co-ordinator
Tel +64 21 920 696

Sign up and register for the Benehub and the Benestar App

Employees have access to a whole range of other resources on the website:

  • BeneHub
  • Benestar App
  • Live chat (between 9:30am to 9:30pm)

Visit the Benestar website

In order to access these services, please register and set up an account with your Otago email address and the identifier: uniOtago and the token: eap

Staff can access and find information and practical tools to a range of topics such as:

  • Life
  • Mind
  • Body
  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Money

Who is the programme available to?

The counselling programme is available to:

  • All permanent and fixed term full time staff
  • All part time with 0.5 FTE or greater, and with an employment contract(s) totalling 12 months or more

How many sessions are available?

University of Otago will pay for up to three, 1-hour sessions with a Benestar-approved counsellor. If further sessions are required, please discuss this directly with your counsellor. We recognise that some staff may need additional support.

How to access the programme?

There are two ways of accessing the programme:

Direct access to one of the Benestar counsellors

A telephone call can be made directly to a counsellor and a time arranged to meet. Text messages are often preferred. If there is an answer service, please state the place of work (University of Otago), leave your phone number and the best time to be contacted.

Find a counsellor and make contact here

Access via Benestar

Benestar has been contracted to provide EAP services to the University. Benestar contracts with professional counsellors nationwide. You can call Benestar on 0800 360 364. If your need is urgent, please call Benestar who will help find a counsellor who can see you within 24 hours or live chat with them between 9:30am to 9:30pm.

Concerns about access and availability

Please contact the University EAP Co-ordinator Carina Perner (Occupational Mental Health and Wellbeing advisor) if there are general questions about EAP or concerns about the accessibility and availability of certain counsellors. However, she won't be able to book appointments for staff. Staff arrange appointments themselves or ask a trusted person to assist.

Contact details

Tel +64 21 920 69


There are two types of referrals:

Informal referral

An informal referral is initiated by a staff member when they recognise a problem themselves, or following a suggestion from a colleague, family member or friends.

Workplace referral

A workplace referral is recommended by a Supervisor or Head of Department when impaired work performance continues after normal supervision practices have been followed. The offer may be declined by the employee as the programme is voluntary. All workplace referrals must be coordinated through Human Resources and/or Occupational Health.

Related info

Key contacts

Carina Perner
EAP Co-ordinator
Tel 64 21 920 696

Back to top