Mental Health in the Workplace: 3 Secrets to EAP Success

EAPs can help individuals with pretty much anything that’s problematic in their daily lives. But how can you ensure your employees are getting value from it?

Yugi the Giraffe - 7 February 2022

We’ve all experienced a time when life has become a bit overwhelming – sometimes it’s a result of work stress. Sometimes it's down to something else – our health, our finances or our relationships.

It is not surprising then that some 25% of employees will experience a mental health problem each year. This costs UK employers more than £45 billion a year. It's therefore vital that businesses try and protect this value by investing in services to support mental health in the workplace.

What’s more, as the ‘Great Resignation’ takes effect, with 53% of UK workers considering quitting their job this year - companies will no longer be able to offer mental health initiatives as an afterthought if they want to retain their people and continue to attract the best talent.

There are plenty of measures that can be put in place to support workplace mental health, a major one being Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP). EAPs are an investment in the wellbeing of employees and can help individuals with pretty much anything that’s problematic in their daily lives - this could be work stress, a relationship breakdown or financial issues.

Despite much of the population being faced with problems that EAPs deal with, studies have consistently shown that less than 10% of the average workforce use their EAP. This suggests there’s a worrying gap between the support services being offered and what employees actually need and use.

Simply offering an EAP for your employees isn't enough on its own. Its value is limited unless employees know what’s available and how to access it. So, how can you maximise awareness of your EAP within your organisation and make it a key pillar of mental health support at work?

Here are a few ways to make the most of your EAP:

1) Boost your EAP’s visibility

Often businesses think that a one-off communication to their people is enough to promote their EAP effectively. However, the stats speak for themselves, and the fact that so few employees actually engage with these programmes suggest that a lot more could be done to encourage usage…

It’s important that businesses identify the best internal channels to share how the EAP works and highlight the benefits of using the service. As well as posting full details on the intranet, you could also try sharing information via messaging channels like Slack, email, or even asking business leaders to talk about the EAP during team meetings.

Promotional campaigns need to be frequent and ongoing if you want the message to stick. If your company runs health and wellbeing events, or celebrates awareness days such as world mental health day, these can be excellent opportunities to get your EAP in front of your people and remind them of how it can help them.

2) Guarantee confidentiality

Even if they know about their EAP, a major reason why employees may not make use of the programme is due to a lack of trust in the services and uncertainty around whether their issues will really be kept confidential from their employer.

EAPs deal with deeply personal issues, from financial and family struggles to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. If your employees don't have complete trust in the service, they simply won't use it.

It is a standard practice for any good EAP provider to adhere to strict confidentiality guidelines. So, by highlighting that confidentiality is guaranteed, particularly when it comes to counselling and mental health services, and reiterating the message at every opportunity, you can help reduce people's reluctance and increase uptake of these vital support services to improve workplace mental health.

3) Integrate it into a wider wellbeing strategy

While EAPs are very important for improving mental health in the workplace, they shouldn’t be the only component of your wellbeing strategy. Additional employee benefits and services including virtual healthcare, fitness and mindfulness subscriptions and insurance coverage can all serve to promote overall employee wellbeing.

It is therefore important that the employee journey is as simple as possible and your EAP is linked to these related services. Ensuring that different services integrate and work effectively together is fundamental when delivering a wellbeing strategy that is accessible and engaging.

YuLife’s Employee Assistance Programme, in partnership with Workplace Options, supports employees with work, relationship or financial issues - providing life coaching, access to qualified advisors, structured clinical counselling and 24/7 access to clinically trained mental health experts.

Our in-app Wellness Hub makes it easy for employees to access their EAP alongside their entire suite of health and wellness tools from one location on their smartphones.

Providing a general culture of wellbeing that meets the needs of the workforce is key to improving mental health across your business. YuLife offers companies an easy way to provide and integrate all the key elements of employee health and wellbeing including life insurance, digital health services, an EAP and a gamified app that rewards employees for practising healthy behaviours such as walking and practising mindfulness.

Click here to get a quote and learn more about how YuLife is working with hundreds of growing businesses to provide workplace benefits that engage, reward and protect their people.

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.