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EAP provides must-have mental healthcare for UK employees

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Data from Health Assured reveals that employees at companies which provide an integrated employee benefits platform are less likely to call their Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) helpline. To mark World Mental Health Day, Personal Group shines a light on how an EAP, a workplace benefit, is not only a good initiative to promote mental health and to support employees, but can improve overall wellbeing and productivity in the workplace.

An EAP is a simple workplace benefit, usually implemented by an employer, to assist employees with personal, financial and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental or emotional wellbeing. EAPs generally offer free and confidential assessments, short-term counselling, referrals and follow up services for employees and their household members. According to a recent survey[1] of 121 employers, 96 per cent of respondents offer EAP on a core (employee-funded) basis.

Personal Group compared their own clients’ employees’ usage of EAP services versus the benchmark of all other calls received by Health Assured and the results are startling:

  • Employees without access to the Personal Group employee benefits programme are 71 per cent more likely to call their EAP helpline about work related issues
  • Employees without access to the Personal Group employee benefits programme are 3 and a half times more likely to call the EAP helpline about financial worries
  • Employees from the benchmark data set showed only a 42 per cent improvement in their anxiety levels after accessing their EAP service[2], whereas employees with access to the Personal Group benefits programme showed a 61 per cent improvement.
  • Employees from the benchmark data set showed only a 41 per cent improvement in their PHQ-9 scores after accessing their EAP service[3], whereas employees with access to the Personal Group benefits programme showed a 65 per cent improvement.

Additionally, the workplace outcomes of providing an EAP service to Personal Group clients’ employees are much better versus the benchmark data[4]:

20 per cent improvement in feelings of presenteeism for Personal Group Clients versus 15 per cent improvement for benchmark data;
39 per cent improvement in feelings of life satisfaction for Personal Group Clients versus 15 per cent improvement for benchmark data; and
18 per cent improvement in overall Workplace Outcomes for Personal Group Clients versus 14 per cent improvement for benchmark data.

The data also reveals an unexpected usage pattern for those who have access to their EAP as part of Personal Group’s digital platform versus the benchmark data. MIND, the mental health charity found that although men and women experience mental health problems in roughly equal numbers, men are much less likely to seek help, be diagnosed and receive treatment for it. The consequences of this can be fatal, with 75 per cent of all suicides by men (Office for National Statistics, 2009). The EAP benchmark usage data reflects this with only 35 per cent of calls coming from men. However, the anonymised data from Personal Group clients, where a wider benefits programme is in place, shows that 50 per cent of calls are from men.

Mark Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer of Personal Group said:

“We are delighted to support World Mental Health Day. The workplace has a significant impact on our overall wellbeing and we must do all we can to put initiatives in place to make help more accessible so as a nation we get comfortable talking about mental health issues.

“These findings support our belief that the ability to easily access benefits and services at an employee’s own convenience, whenever and wherever they feel most comfortable, contributes to greater usage and participation. And we hope that our employee app, Hapi, provides an easy, discreet and accessible way to do this. A more holistic approach to wellbeing and employee engagement leads to a happier and more productive workforce. Whilst an EAP provision is a good place to start, it is most effective when used as one component of a broader approach.”

All statistics are based on 27,390 employee interactions with Health Assured’s EAP over a 6-month period, between February 2017 and July 2017. This includes 24,322 interactions from the benchmark data and 3,068 interactions from Personal Group clients’ employees.

[1] Employee Benefits/Health Shield Healthcare Research 2017
[2] Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) is a sensitive self-administrated test to assess generalized anxiety disorder[2], with assigned points which measure severity of various signs of GAD according to reported response categories
[3] The PHQ-9 is a multipurpose instrument for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression. The PHQ-9 can also be administered repeatedly which can reflect improvement or worsening of depression in response to treatment.
[4] The Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) is an Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) endorsed Tool. It demonstrates the effectiveness of EAPs in quantifiable business terms.

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John Ormond House
899 Silbury Boulevard
Central Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
MK9 3XL

Click here for a map.

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