James Platt, director of faculty/employee assistance, to retire

by Autumn Dinh | 9/29/17 2:00am

The director of the faculty/employee assistance program James Platt will officially retire on Oct. 2. F/EAP, which is a college program that offers counseling and referral service for Dartmouth employees, will transition from the current internal model to a hybrid model operated under ComPsych, one of the largest providers of employee assistance programs.

The new hybrid model will provide not only the internal presence necessary to respond to emergencies in a timely fashion but also accessibility to more professional external resources, according to Platt. Platt said that under ComPsych, wait times will decrease.

“Part of the agreements we have with ComPsych is that there is going to be a speedy process in getting in touch with someone,” he said.

Executive vice president Rick Mills claimed that the new model provides more flexibility and can increase utilization of the employment assistance program. With the hybrid model, employees can access the program over the phone at any time, Mills said.

Platt stated that employees and their family will continue to receive eight free sessions per case. Employees and their families will incur costs if they need to be referred to other resources or use more than the eight provided sessions, he added.

Platt explained that ComPsych would either reach out to their counseling associates in the Upper Valley area to provide the eight free sessions or give phone consultation to the patient. If the counselor and the patient feel the need to extend the counseling, they may continue to work with each other, but the counseling would not be covered by the College. The associate can also work with ComPsych to direct the patient to a more suitable EAP provider, Platt said.

Both Platt and Mills said that ComPsych is the most suitable provider for Dartmouth. Platt noted that he had consulted with directors of the F/EAP program at another university and learned that the hybrid model has provided strong results.

“The last gift [Platt] gives to Dartmouth is helping us transit to this model,” Mills said.

Platt has been working for Dartmouth’s F/EAP program for 31 years. He has helped faculty and staff in several aspects, including offering counseling for health problems, finding College employees the right resources, assisting with budgeting and helping employees adapt to the Upper Valley area.

“I’m going to miss him,” Mills said. “It’s hard for me to imagine [Platt] not being connected to the community that he’s been helping ­— I feel like it’s part of his identity. It means that he has done a good job at Dartmouth.”

Platt said the utilization of the program has increased from 2 percent to 11 to 18 percent under his leadership. He added that the satisfaction rate is currently 97 percent. To make the F/EAP more inclusive and accessible for the employees, Platt also developed a satellite system on campus.

“We go to the employees instead of making them go to us,” Platt said.

Throughout his 31 years at Dartmouth, Platt claimed that his proudest accomplishment is how the program has aptly responded to critical incidents and crisis situations on campus.

“It’s really rewarding knowing that we can offer values to this community,” Platt said.

When asked about his retirement, Platt said that he was looking forward to it.

“I’ve done my homework and have a pretty objective understanding of the challenges of retirement,” he said. “My goal is to do nothing for the next six months. Just chill out, have fun and don’t have to worry about anything.”