There’s no getting around the numbers. Whether in their personal or professional lives, people are increasingly prone to mental health issues, substance abuse, financial challenges, and other stressors.
According to Mental Health America’s 2022 data, some 50 million U.S. adults – or nearly a fifth of Americans age 18 and over – have a severe mental health issue.
A CreditWise survey found that 73% of Americans rank their finances as life’s No. 1 stressor, yet financial literacy among U.S. adults has fallen 19% over the past decade.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that more than 20 million Americans have a current substance abuse disorder.
Relationship problems, feeling overwhelmed at work, or struggling with time management can also spike stress and cause chaos in our lives.
Enter employee assistance programs, or EAPs. While people sometimes associate EAPs exclusively with behavioral health issues, they are more than that.
“As we all know in today’s world, many factors go into our having good mental health,” said Linda Burdge, who oversees employee benefits for Capital Blue Cross. “It is not only diagnosed health issues, be they physical or mental health, but also our relationships, our finances and even how we treat ourselves, such as through healthy eating. Our EAP vendor provides insight into all these issues and more.”
And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that “EAPs can identify and address a wide range of health, financial, and social issues.“
In other words, EAPs can help employees calm some of life’s chaos.
A National Behavioral Consortium study found 94% of EAP users reported satisfaction with EAP service, 86% showed clinical improvement after EAP assistance, work productivity increased 86%, and absenteeism declined 64%.
A study published by the National Institutes for Health echoed the findings, reporting that EAP use reduced employees’ psychological distress and absenteeism, and increased their life satisfaction, workplace productivity, and engagement.
That comes as no surprise to Heather Windemaker, Capital Blue Cross manager of leave administration.
“The overall value of EAPs is to holistically provide employees with resources to assist them,” Windemaker said, “and not just focus on the issue at hand.”
Capital Blue Cross offers wide-ranging EAP services also available to those residing in the employee’s home. All full-time and part-time Capital employees and their dependents – which include an employee’s spouse and any other member of the employee’s household – are eligible to use the program. Available services include general mental health, stress and anxiety, depression, grief, eldercare issues, financial wellness, substance abuse counseling, and more.
Their best selves
EAPs can help employees be their best selves, personally and professionally.
“We recognize that we're all human and have outside factors that effect and impact our employees,” Windemaker said. “Having a good EAP allows the employee and family members to receive the help and support they need, so they have the ability to focus on daily living and activities.”
Life can get messy. EAPs offer employees the solace of knowing that when it does, their company can connect them to trained professionals who can help.