Health Assured team

08 May 2024

1 in 6 people experience mental health problems in work and a staggering 17.1 million working days are lost in the UK to poor mental health every year.

With the rising demand for mental health awareness, the importance of having good mental health support has become necessary for many organisations. Without the right mental health support, your organisation's growth, productivity, and people could be negatively affected.

As a leader, you have a responsibility to support your people in any personal and professional challenges they may face to promote and support healthy mental health and wellbeing.

This is where Health Assured comes in.

So, if you work in a human resources department or are a freelance hr professional, it is essential you look at these factors. A way to help manage this is through an employee assistance programme.

Let us look at what is expected of an employer and exactly how the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) works, what EAP programmes offer, and why your business or organisation should implement one.

Get an EAP price online


What is an Employee assistance programme (EAP)?

An employee assistance programme is work-based support that helps your people with their personal and professional challenges to boosts their mental wellbeing and work performance.

The service is confidential and provides a support network focusing on mental health where employees can self-refer and is completely free for them to use. Management can also refer an individual if they feel it is necessary.

The service includes access to health assessments, short-term counselling, 24/7 helpline, and other vital wellbeing services to protect your people and your organisation.

Discover your ROI potential with an EAP

The annual cost of mental health to employers is staggering. The Independent Review of Mental Health and Employers reports that it’s as much as £42 billion a year.

To see how much your organisation could save, try our cost saving ROI calculator

Cost saving calculator

An employer's duty of care

It is a legal requirement for all employers to ensure the wellbeing of their employees, this is known as a ‘duty of care.’ This includes all responsibilities relating to health & safety, harassment and stress.

The UK considers some mental health issues as a disability under the legislation set out by the Equality Act 2010. Employers will need to consider making reasonable adjustments to not discriminate against these people.

This makes management mental health in the workplace is an important role as an employer. This is to avoid employees developing mental health issues due to workplace stress—or it aggravating something they are already suffering with.  

This is where EAPs offer you some support.

What is the purpose of the employee assistance programme (EAPs)?

Employees are 44% more likely to return to work after therapy which subsequently, reduces absenteeism by 45% and boosts your team’s confidence.

An employee assistance programme aims to support employees when coping with personal problems that might hurt their work performance, health, and wellbeing.

Challenges discussed can be workplace issues or personal life problems, such as relationship issues and bereavement, ensuring that support is always available.

Our EAP is a problem-solving service, supporting employees in developing quality mental health so they can perform to the best of their ability.

Promoting a positive internal relationship and investing in a healthy working environment contributes to higher staff engagement with the company and improved productivity from employees.

Your people are also likely to be more loyal to your company when their health and wellbeing is priority, subsequently improving your employee retention rates.

How does the EAP work?

An EAP is a confidential and free service that often offers a 24/7 helplines, so employees can call for a one-off conversation if they need a professional to talk to and confide in.

They can self-refer or be referred by a member of management to structured counselling sessions. Leaders will also be able to refer their people to the service and set the number of sessions permitted.

The service is often an intensive short-term form of counselling rather than ongoing sessions.

Get an EAP price online


What does an employee assistance programme offer?

The specifics of the service may differ depending on the provider, but the core service will always be the same.

They will offer free health assessments, short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their immediate family.

The core services consist of:

  • Counselling services: Qualified counsellors providing short-term goal-oriented counselling, allowing employees to better manage their personal and work-life commitments.
  • Critical Incident Management: A debriefing procedure to help normalise the often overwhelming psychological, physiological and emotional responses to minor, moderate and severe critical incidents.

Here at health assured, we offer:

Who pays for the employee assistance programme?

Often, what stops people getting support for their mental health challenges is cost. While counselling sessions can be prescribed by the NHS, there are often long waiting times and going private can be costly. This can impact the individual’s health with prolonged waits or financial strain, further affecting their morale and work performance.

Providing your people with an EAP gives them free and easy to access to vital and immediate support without having to worry about payment, such as counselling services and a 24/7 helpline.

This support can help shorten the time they are affected by mental health challenges, boosting their morale, teammates morale, and overall productivity.

For employers considering investing in an employee assistance programme, there are a variety of EAP pricing models available. Click the link below to discover the cost for better mental health in your organisation.

Can an employer require an EAP to be used by an employee?

Situations in which an employer may mandate the use of an EAP are rare. The Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) in its Standards and Professional Guidelines shows:

"Employees may voluntarily seek EAP assistance, or they may be referred to the EAP through constructive confrontation. Job security will not be jeopardised as a consequence of seeking or using EAP services, except where mandated by law."

You should focus on job performance and better mental health whenever referring an employee to using the EAP services. There should be no consequences coming from non-compliance with the referral.

To see how much your organisation could save, speak with one of our mental health at work experts today. Call us on 0844 891 0352.

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