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Understanding Employee Assistance Programs

07 Aug


The popularity of corporate wellness programs is on the rise. However, not all of these programs include employee assistance programs (EAP). An EAP provides employee access to professional counselors to meet with employees in a safe and private environment and on their terms. The information shared in EAP counseling sessions is confidential and will not be reported to your employer without explicit permission on the employee’s part.

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Employees may consider using their EAP benefits to help manage areas of their life including:

  • Stress
  • Marital, relationship, or family concerns
  • Grief
  • Financial concerns
  • Mental health issues
  • Alcohol or substance abuse

While being able to receive counseling to discuss these or other issues is immensely helpful for employees, there is also a great employer benefit in offering EAP services. When employees are overwhelmed with personal issues, they are unable to focus or perform at the top of their potential. For example, “mental health issues like anxiety and depression are on the rise for young workers.”[1] This is why the American Psychiatric Association supports the notion that “investing in a mentally healthy workforce is good for business” [2] as one in five adults have an untreated mental illness.[3]

Adding a well-structured EAP to an existing employee benefits plan has bigger benefits than helping the employee reduce their level of stress at work and regain their normal level of productivity. Happier employees help to create an equally happy company culture. This can be attributed to EAP and improved wellness, overall.

The ability to provide employee assistance in terms of mental health goes beyond what an employer HR department or the employee’s direct leadership team can offer. Many of these issues are serious and require professional intervention. EAPs make access to this type of care more cost-effective and easier for the employee to access and schedule.

Offering EAP services to employees underlines the organization’s commitment to employee health and success in and outside of the company. Contact Vensure to learn how to foster a healthy and productive work environment for your employees. Additionally, let us help you review improved voluntary employee benefits available for your organization.

[1] Forbes: Addressing Mental Wellness: A Critical Component to Employee and Organizational Success
[2, 3] American Psychiatric Association: Center for Workplace Health

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