EAP Mental Health: How to Implement an Employee Assistance Program
Implementing an employee assistance program is one way employers can help provide wellness and mental health support to employees, especially during stressful times. Read on for ways that employers can help educate their teams on existing EAPs.
*This blog is adapted from the HR Party of One episode, Mental Health: Employee Assistance Programs which you can view below.
Defined: What is an EAP?
EAPs generally offer free and confidential mental health assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services for employees.
Additionally, EAP counselors may also consult with managers and supervisors to address employee and organizational challenges and needs.
Even though EAPs are mainly aimed at work-related issues, there are a variety of programs that can assist with problems outside of the workplace.
HR can be proactive by encouraging employees to take advantage of these services which will help contribute to a culture of prevention.
EAPs are Gaining Popularity
EAPs have grown in popularity over the years, and are more desirable economically and socially.
According to SHRM, "EAPs have become a core benefit: 91 percent of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members polled earlier this year said their organizations offered an EAP, up from 79 percent in 2015.”
How Can Employers Help with EAPs?
The popularity and benefits of an employee assistance program are pretty clear, and it’s important to be mindful of your employees’ mental health now more than ever. Here are steps that employers can take in implementing an EAP so that they can be proactive in ensuring a healthy and happy workforce.
- Check to see if your policy includes an EAP
If you’re just now tuning into employee assistance programs and are not sure if your plan currently offers them, check your insurance carrier policy to see if one is included. Some insurance policies come with this included in your disability policy, so be sure to check there as well.
- Educate your employees on the company’s program
If your company does offer an EAP, do your employees know about it? And do they know where to find more information about the program? Communicate to your employees through email or 1-on-1 meetings that they have an EAP available to them and how to access their EAP.
Making benefits elections can be a daunting task and since employees are usually focused on their primary insurance selection, EAPs can be an afterthought. Be sure to follow up with employees to make sure they received whatever support they needed.
- Communicate privacy laws and how to access care
Employees will be more likely to take advantage of these benefits knowing that their privacy is protected. There are many online EAP services that employees can access which they may be more comfortable using given the extra layer of privacy they provide, and some providers even offer apps that employees can access on their phones.
Additionally, The American Psychological Association has called on states and insurers to move quickly to allow people to connect with their mental health providers remotely using tele-health as the need for mental health services rises during the COVID-19 pandemic
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