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Response to article about Mental Health Tools in the workplace

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A while back SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) posted an article about ‘Rethinking the Role of EAPs’. We wanted to dissect this article and point out where we agree (or not) and why this is an important outlook for your business, organizational health, and success when it comes to Employee Assistance Programs.

Back and forth blog post! Changing up our style for this one. This post will be designed with a quote from the article shown, and then the response from Northstar EAP (in bold)


"Now more than ever, companies need to provide employees with access to convenient, quality and affordable mental health care to ensure workers are safe, healthy, happy and productive," said Stephen Etkind, a consultant with First Stop Health and a psychologist in private practice in Massachusetts.

… data shows an 80 percent increase in members seeking care from March 2020 to early 2021.

We have all heard the reports lately on ‘mental health’, we have the data to prove it, EAP utilization has gone up, drastically in many instances. In some cases where pre-pandemic utilization was normally at 5-10%, we are seeing spikes in user groups to 20-45% since spring 2020. (If you are NOT seeing an increase with your EAP that is a whole other post and give us a call…)

We make certain Northstar partners are aware of their available benefits and have access to multifaceted care we provide, all at a fixed annual rate. Higher use does not mean a higher cost for the employer.


"One silver lining of the pandemic is that employers are prioritizing the mental health of their employees by looking critically at their benefits to ensure that resources are appropriately matching the need,"

This is true. Here are the stats to back it and why the investment should be made:

  • For every $1 invested yearly in prevention and intervention programs to support mental health, employers can save $2 to $4 on other expenses.

  • Major depressive disorders alone cost organizations between $31 billion and $51 billion yearly in lost productivity.

  • An employee with depression costs an organization $10,000 in yearly health insurance, versus the average of $4,584.

  • An employee with major depression is absent an average of 27 days per year.

  • Northstar EAP removes barriers, so our clients are processed and contacted for scheduling by a counselor in 1-3 business days. Average length for most other EAPs, 7-25 days.

This is the time to make the investment in your team, in your people, you will see the return -Northstar will make sure! Northstar’s system works. Our goal is to remove barriers and time from the process, make it easy to access EAP. EAP is a short-term solution focused system to get your employees in and address their challenges. At times it is the entry point for greater mental health issues and the goal at Northstar is to match the employee with the right resources.


"Look for opportunities to refer or cross-refer to other programs," he said. For example, a wellness coach who is working with an employee on weight loss might suspect that the employee has an underlying eating disorder and subsequently refer them to a clinician in the EAP.

"The goal is not to diagnose anyone, but to create a framework so that people can recognize when a colleague or co-worker is in distress and connect them with the right resources,"

Yes! Northstar does just this. We have wellness options, EAP, mental health counseling and coaching to support your employees where they are. We have had clients start with counseling and switch to coaching, some start with Nutrition Consults and also employ EAP. This is about the employee’s personal wellness and mental health journey and all the spokes that come from that wheel to move them toward their best self.

Northstar’s goal is to guide that person on their path. We are a partner for the Employer, a Resource Guide for the Employee, and a tool to elevate overall organizational health.


We have our own network of mental health specialists, career coaches, nutrition consultants, sleep therapists, and more. We take all of these interactions and bring it into one report for your leadership to review and use to make better decisions, refine your strategy, or have actionable outcomes from the information. At Northstar, we don’t want you to simply check a box, we want to be engaged and utilized in a partnership.

Ultimately, the goal of working with Northstar EAP is to serve the Employer as a partner, the Employee as an access provider, and in doing so elevate the entire organization. We want the Employer to see the outcomes and ROI of this process and we can share that through data and information we provide back to them as well as improved culture and employee mental health and wellness.

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