Why are EAP programmes not being used?

Why are EAP Programmes Not Being Used?

Recent studies have shown that EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) take up is at around 5%. That’s right, businesses are paying for a service for their entire workforce and only 5% are taking it up. As a broad overview an EAP seems like a good idea at a, relatively, low cost. Depending on workforce size and the services provided, they can cost just a few pounds per employee per month.
However, that suddenly becomes very expensive when you determine the cost per employee actually using the service. It gets worse still. Figures show that of those who contact their employee assistance program, 40% are turned away, 20% are signposted to free literature and online resources and a further 20% to local charities. So only a very small percentage of the workforce actually get to use the service.

What are the top three reasons?

So, what are EAP programmes not being used? Let’s look at the top three reasons:

1. There’s still a stigma 

That’s right, there is still a stigma attached to using a counsellor or therapist. People fear being labelled as crazy or mental. They fear what their co-workers might think of them or even what their bosses might say. Would they get denied a promotion or even hounded out of a job. 

2. The workforce don’t know about them 

Would you believe that most employees don’t know about the EAP their employers provide? It seems that many businesses don’t like to talk about what help they offer. Is this because it has become a tick box exercise? Or maybe they know that the uptake is low so they simply don’t bother.

3. People want to help themselves

This one isn’t talked about much and yet could be the most important. A large percentage of people just want to help themselves but they don’t know how. What they need is some knowledge and tools to help them improve their own situation. An EAP usually does not provide that.  Training courses and workshops can provide a much better form of help, particularly if they are online. Online learning means people don’t have to tell anyone, they can just learn at their own pace and on their own time. Is this the answer? 

What is the answer?

Without doubt there is a place for some form of one-to-one assistance for employees. Many businesses these days are turning to mental health coaches as coaching doesn’t hold the stigma of counselling or therapy. However, much more emphasis should be put on the learning aspect. Providing employees with opportunities to learn how to help themselves is far more beneficial. 
What does your business offer and how effective is it?

The Priority Academy Workplace Mental Health Assessment

At The Priority Academy we have developed an innovative tool. The workplace mental health assessment tool helps businesses discover the mental health landscape of their business. This means you can make smart and informed choices on the types of mental health strategy you offer your staff. Plus, it can help you measure the effectiveness of your mental health programmes.

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