EAP: A Key Mental Health Benefit

Mar 31, 2020

Updated July 2022

Most of us feel dread when we think back to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a difficult, life-altering time. Yet there was an important positive that came out of it. We saw—and continue to see—several of our clients elevate the importance of mental wellness as part of their company culture. This increased awareness has led to the resurgence of a long under-utilized and under-valued benefit: Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs.

EAPs are commonly offered in benefits packages. Generally, EAPs provide free counseling and are a confidential, safe resource for employees and their families. Some companies even offer full-service EAPs. In addition to mental health services, employees can also get help with legal issues, financial planning, childcare resources, etc.

Yet, EAPs still struggle to gain traction. Consider these stats:

  • A majority (70%) of surveyed HR departments report that while EAP utilization increased during the pandemic, most employees are not using this benefit.1
  • Almost half of employees didn’t know if their employer offers an EAP, according to a 2021 study by benefits provider Unum.

That means there’s a huge communication gap—and opportunity!

Why Communication Matters

Not surprisingly, companies that consistently promote the availability of an EAP have the highest levels of engagement. It’s a win for employees and employers alike. Access to EAPs and other mental health resources can help create a healthier, happier, and more resilient workforce. It can also reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and reduce overall medical and behavioral spend.

Promote EAP Year-round

With more acknowledgment that mental health is as vital to our well-being as physical health, act now and keep the momentum going. Employers should be talking about the importance of mental wellness, educating employees on signs and symptoms, and reminding them throughout the year to access resources and benefits that can help them. Of course, EAP is at the top of the list.

Communicating about the support available through EAPs or other telebehavioral health services is not only a helpful reminder for employees—it demonstrates company commitment and shows that you are plugged into your workforce. And in the age of the Great Resignation and labor shortages, this commitment is something you cannot over-emphasize.

Need Ideas?

See how one company launched a global campaign to normalize mental health, reduce stigma, and encourage employees and their families to seek help if needed.

Want to Chat More? Reach out at helloindy@westcomm.com or follow us on LinkedIn for more insights.

EAP: A Key Mental Health Benefit


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