7th February 2018

The importance of Implementing Employee Assistance Programmes in the Workplace

The importance of Implementing Employee Assistance Programmes in the Workplace

A study has shown that many workers from sectors such as healthcare, retail and media are in need of more support, now than ever before, from Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) – schemes designed to help and support employees facing personal problems that have a negative impact on their work performance and well-being.

The root cause of surging demand for EAP support comes as a result of rising stress levels.  Healthcare insurance providers are welcoming the news that companies are actively putting these programmes in place to tackle the growing problem of stress in the workplace.

Employee Assistance Programmes can give your staff access to trained counsellors and other mental health support services. It well-known that mental health issues such as work-related stress, anxiety and depression can lead to poor physical health, so companies that offer these programmes are not only helping employees but themselves through the provision of EAP support. Companies that support and take care of employees are helping to cut down incidences of sick leave.

However, there is still more that can be done. The Health Insurance Group (HSE) has calculated that 11.7 million working days were lost in 2015/16 as a result of mental health conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety, with the total number of individual cases reaching almost half a million. Over the same period, stress was responsible for around 37% of all ill-health cases related to work and 45% of all working days lost.

Healthcare insurance providers are calling upon employers to redouble efforts to ensure that the right culture and attitudes are also in place in the workplace. Many workers feel that there is a lack of compassion for those who have mental health conditions. Statistics have shown that 60% of those who use EAP services when they are diagnosed with a mental health condition will return to work, while 64% of those suffering from depression will see an improvement in their condition. A holistic approach to the health of workers could be life-changing for some, and healthcare providers are calling upon bosses to be a little braver when addressing these issues in the workplace.