Tis the season and reason for EAP

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You know that classic holiday song, "The 12 days of…" wait, "8 core technologies of an EAP" It's so catchy! We are singing it on repeat along with Mariah Carey Holiday tunes of course. Northstar is taking this opportunity to talk to you about the core mission of a stand alone EAP and maybe a partridge in a pear tree too.

Information from International Employee Assistance Professionals Association: https://www.eapassn.org/

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) serve organizations and their employees in multiple ways, ranging from consultation at the strategic level about issues with organization-wide implications to individual assistance to employees and family members experiencing personal difficulties. As workplace programs, the structure and operation of each EAP varies with the structure, functioning, and needs of the organization(s) it serves.

In general, an EAP is a set of professional services specifically designed

  • to improve and/or maintain the productivity and healthy functioning of the workplace and to address a work organization's particular business needs

  • through the application of specialized knowledge and expertise about human behavior and mental health.

More specifically, an EAP is a workplace program designed to assist: (1) work organizations in addressing productivity issues, and (2) "employee clients" in identifying and resolving personal concerns, including health, marital, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress, or other personal issues that may affect job performance.

"Employee assistance program core technology" or "EAP core technology" represents the essential components of the employee assistance (EA) profession. These components combine to create a unique approach to addressing work-organization productivity issues and "employee client" personal concerns affecting job performance. EAP core technology is:

  1. Consultation with, training of, and assistance to work organization leadership (managers, supervisors, and union officials) seeking to manage troubled employees, enhance the work environment, and improve employee job performance;
  2. Active promotion of the availability of EA services to employees, their family members, and the work organization.
  3. Confidential and timely problem identification/assessment services for employee clients with personal concerns that may affect job performance;
  4. Use of constructive confrontation, motivation, and short-term intervention with employee clients to address problems that affect job performance;
  5. Referral of employee clients for diagnosis, treatment, and assistance, as well as case monitoring and follow-up services;
  6. Assisting work organizations in establishing and maintaining effective relations with treatment and other service providers, and in managing provider contracts;
  7. Consultation to work organizations to encourage availability of and employee access to health benefits covering medical and behavioral problems including, but not limited to, alcoholism, drug abuse, and mental and emotional disorders; and
  8. Evaluation of the effects of EA services on work organizations and individual job performance.

And if you need more data and numbers and songs to sing, wait, no, no song, but here is more compelling information regarding mental health and why it pays to invest an a functional EAP.

Costs of Mental Illness at work and beyond

  • In 2012, U.S. non-institutionalized spending on mental illness amounted to $80 billion
  • Serious mental illness results in $193 billion lost earnings each year in the U.S
  • Mental illness causes more days of work loss and work impairment than many other chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and arthritis
  • More workers are absent from work because of stress and anxiety than because of physical illness or injury
  • Approximately 217 million days of work are lost annually due to productivity decline related to mental illness and substance abuse disorders
  • The total average medical and pharmacy costs of those diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder was found to be more than 2 times higher than the others in the insured member population
  • People with untreated mental illness use non-psychiatric in patient and outpatient services 3x more than those who are treated
  • Medication and psychotherapy enhance - but do not replace - each other

EAP Intervention and the value:

  • Interventions like an EAP, have been shown to produce rapid improvements in work performance such as having fewer days late or absent, higher levels of work productivity, and improved work team relations
  • Employees who completed at least one session with a mental health provider had a statistically significant improvement in work performance
  • Employee absenteeism was reduced to only 0.91 days of unscheduled absences or tardy days after completing use of the EAP services, from an average of 2.37 days in the prior 30-day period before using the EAP services
  • More results showed that disability claims for behavioral health concerns were 17 days shorter at the high-use EAP companies than at the non-EAP companies (56 days vs. 73 days)
  • Dozens of applied studies have demonstrated that EAP services can produce positive returns for purchasers in direct cost savings from reduced medical, disability, and workers' compensation claims and even more savings from reducing indirect business cost losses related to poor work performance
  • After being on an Short-Term Disability (STD) leave, employees who had used the EAP were about twice as likely to return to the workforce compared to employees who did not use the EAP (33% returned vs. 16%)
  • Only 2% of employees using the EAP had a disability claim that converted to Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefits, whereas 9% of those who did not use an WWB program had gone on to use LTD benefits. (The Hartford Group, 2007)
  • The typical ROI is $3 or more for every $1 dollar invested in EAP services
  • According to the National Business Group on Health, "a well-run EAP program will provide a positive return on investment"

This is where we put a bow on it and let you eat extra cookies and drink hot cocoa. That has proven ROI too. Happy Holidays from Northstar EAP!

Also, because this needs to be said now and every month, we can all help prevent suicide. The 988 dial help line provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. If you or someone you know is struggling and having thoughts of self-harm use the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline today. Don't wait to get help.

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