Improve mental health at work with an EAP

What is an EAP? How You Can Improve Employee Mental Health at Work

Posted January 11, 2018 by Sasha Butkovich in Benefits and Perks
Approximately one in five American adults experiences mental illness. An Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, can help.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 48.3 million adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness in a given year. Based on that statistic, mental health issues are likely to touch you or someone you know.

As an employer who cares about your employees’ mental health and wellbeing, you may want to consider offering access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP can help small businesses and their employees with a variety of issues in and out of the workplace, including mental health services and employee assistance.

An EAP provides your employees with access to the support they need. This post will explain more about how EAPs work, and how they can provide mental health benefits for your team.

We’ve gathered our top resources to help you promote workplace wellness. Download our Employee Wellness Kit to get all the tips.

Mental Health at Work

Mental health matters. Although it is a personal issue, the effects of an individual’s mental health and wellbeing can be far-reaching and even impact their work life. Research from the Center for Prevention and Health Services estimates that the workplace costs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders range from $79 to $105 billion each year.

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It’s important for employers to be aware of stress and mental health at work, and how they might assist or support their employees. Access to a rich set of mental health services helps business owners provide resources to take care of their teams, whatever their needs may be, and it benefits their business.

What is an EAP?

An Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, connects member employees to confidential, professional assistance to help with personal, family, and work issues. Often these services come at no charge to the employee.

Although their offerings can be quite broad, many EAP services either directly or indirectly address mental health. Professional counselors and other specialists accessible through an EAP can help employees tackle issues such as stress, depression, substance abuse, financial concerns, and family issues.

To ensure your employees will have access to the right mental health benefits and support, look for some of these key offerings in an EAP.

EAPs offer access to services like employee counseling, financial assistance, and help finding childcare.

Short-term Counseling

Finding a therapist or accessing counseling might feel out of reach for those suffering from stress or mental health issues. But finding someone to talk to is simple with an EAP.

With a quality EAP, employee counseling is just a phone call away for members. EAPs generally provide access to counseling over the phone, or even in-person sessions with a local counselor. There’s really no need to wait for help or to second guess yourself when you can talk to a helpful professional for free.

Employee counseling can help with:

  • Anxiety at work
  • Stress at home or in personal relationships
  • Depression
  • Addiction issues

This professional counseling service is free, and a quality program should offer the services to members, and often their spouse or domestic partner, their parents, and their children as well. Privacy is also a cornerstone of these services, as employers having access to their employees’ mental health information is delicate. Additionally, people are more likely to seek help when they feel they can trust the source and have confidentiality.

Work/Life Balance

It can feel overwhelming to try to manage your work and home life all at once. Of course, this can have a real effect on your physical and mental health.

Work/life services from an EAP aim to ease some of that burden. Their experts can provide assistance with a range of services, such as finding childcare or elder care, connecting with a lawyer, or even receiving nutrition advice. Just think of how much better your employees might feel if they had help taking some of that stress out of their day-to-day.

72% of Americans said they felt stressed about money, and 22% felt “extreme” stress over their finances.

Financial Assistance

Let’s face it, money worries often lead to stress, and financial burdens can have a big impact on a person’s mental health. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, 72% of Americans said they felt stressed about money, and 22% felt “extreme” stress over their finances.

EAPs often offer helpful services to help people get on top of their finances, like planning for retirement, providing assistance with a stolen identity, connecting to a financial advisor, and more.

Some EAPs go above and beyond. Health Advocate, for example, offers a Medical Bill Saver tool. If you have medical or dental bills over $400, Health Advocate will help negotiate your bills on your behalf to reduce your out-of-pocket health insurance payments. Some members have even seen savings of up to 60%.

How Justworks Can Help

Justworks has teamed up with Health Advocate*, a leading clinical health advocacy company, to offer access to their EAP and help our customers with a variety of issues in and out of the workplace.

Employees at companies offering health insurance through Justworks will have unlimited access to Health Advocate’s EAP services at no additional cost. They offer members personalized support through a Personal Health Advocate — typically a registered nurse, supported by medical directors and benefits and claims specialists.

Health Advocate is available to eligible employees, their spouses or domestic partners, dependent children, parents, and parents-in-law.

Helping employees alleviate stress and address mental health concerns can have real mental health benefits for your team, and help your business overall. Consider offering access to an EAP, like the one from Health Advocate, to provide a wealth of services and support for your employees.

*Health Advocate is not affiliated with any insurance or third party provider. Health Advocate complies with all government privacy standards. Health Advocate does not replace health insurance coverage, provide medical care, or recommend treatment.