Employee Mental Health: EAPs to the Rescue During Troubling Times
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have become more popular and crucial than ever before. EAP managers report a surge in call volume from workers that need mental health help. Some common stresses are potentially becoming infected by the virus, losing a loved one or a friend to COVID-19 or financial problems due to reduced hours or a partner being laid off.
If you have an EAP, now is the right time to promote the program among your employees so those who really need it can get the help they need. Also, since you are likely paying for the EAP, there’s more incentive for you now to get your workers to take advantage of its offerings. EAPs are obviously beneficial to workers when they are in trying times or dealing with a life emergency.
When employees access EAPs during hard times, that also benefits the employer in the form of fewer days away from work. Employees are also less likely to be distracted at work due to issues that may be weighing on the employee. The “2020 Annual Report for the Workplace Outcome Suite,” published by LifeWorks, found that workers who access their EAPs significantly increase their productivity once they have accessed their program and received counseling.
What an EAP Offers
EAPs are a work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting their performance at work. Services offered vary, but some of the common ones include:
- Resolving workplace personality conflicts – Advice and suggestions on how to work with a difficult manager or co-worker.
- Drug addiction prevention – Advice on how to deal with the employee’s addiction, or how to handle a family member’s addiction.
- Counseling – This can cover any mental health issue an employee or family member is dealing with, including depression, anxiety, anger management, as well as grief counseling.
- Health and caregiving assistance – This can include managing return-to-work issues after an injury, managing a disability or medical issue, or getting care the elderly or ill.
- Legal and family assistance – Marriage counseling, divorce or child custody advice.
- Financial counseling – How to avoid bankruptcy, pay down credit card debt or create a budget. Employee use of the EAP service is confidential and not shared with the Employer, due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Employers do not know who is utilizing the service, what the reasons are or how often employees call.
EAP Program Statistics
Return on investment and savings:
Small employers: ROI: 3:1. Cost savings per employee: $2,000.
Mid-size employers: ROI: 5:1. Cost savings per employee: $2,500.
Large employers: ROI: 9:1. Cost savings per employee: $3,000.
Strong results for employees:
86% of EAP-using workers had clinical improvements from the help they received.
86% improved their work productivity.
64% had fewer days off from work.
94% reported that they were satisfied with the service.
Source: EAP vendor survey by National Behavioral Consortium
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