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Why Traditional Employee Assistance Programs Are Not Enough

by | Mar 4, 2022 | EAP, Employers' Workforce Mental Health Resources, Tempo Live, Workplace Anxiety, Workplace Mental Health

Traditional Employee Assistance Programs are important, but are they enough to address mental and behavioral health challenges in the workplace? Here is why traditional employee assistance programs are not enough.

Depressed man sitting in work uniform

What Is EAP? 

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are currently offered by 79% of employers, according to a published report by Statista. EAP’s are programs that provide various mental health support, counseling, and treatment programs to employees dealing with mental and behavioral health disorders, substance and alcohol abuse, and relationship and family issues. Traditional EAP’s also provide treatment recommendations for employees dealing with other life stressors impacting their performance at work. 

Pros 

  • An EAP provides mental health support, counseling, and treatment programs free of cost to the employees 
  • Employees can use the program even if their work performance isn’t being impacted 
  • All data and information are handled confidentially by the EAP team 
  • Certain employers offer EAP options for employees and their families 
  • EAP’s are also free. Some EAP’s are also available to employees and their families 

Cons 

Some employees might be hesitant to use EAP, fearing their confidential personal information will be compromised. In fact, utilization of EAP is as low as 4.5%. In addition, although EAP’s are free, they only offer a limited amount of counseling, usually only 2 to 4 sessions per fiscal year. 

Why Employees Need More Than Just an EAP 

Due to the limitations associated with EAP services, it might not be enough to help employees recover from complex mental health disorders. Some employer-offered EAP’s also require a referral beforehand, posing a barrier to utilization.

  • To help employees better and support them at the time of their need, employers may consider implementing a workplace-focused mental/behavioral health support program.
  • A third-party occupational healthcare service provider can help an employee with mental health first-aid solutions through initial telephonic nurse triage.
  • Further, the healthcare practitioner can set the employees up with a therapist for more specialized care to improve their mental health.
  • In addition, these third-party occupational health service providers use OSHA-trained healthcare practitioners specialized in HIPAA and ADA regulations. They handle each case end to end while ensuring patients’ confidentiality.
  • Plus, there is no referral needed from a human resource office, meaning employees might be more willing to utilize their services. 

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