Mental Health and Employee Assistance Program Benefits

Mental health has been in the spotlight for a while now and annual campaigns like Ar U Ok day was created to promote awareness.  A lot of people fail to admit they are suffering from anxiety, depression or doing it tough at home.  Those who recognise it are weary of programs offered by employers such as EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) in case their name gets back to their employer.  Employers and specifically HR needs to promote EAP and the benefits thereof.

The word mental health is associated with depression or personality disorders but also includes not just that but our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.  It affects how we think, feel and act. It plays a role in how we handle stress and the flight or fight mode we adopt.

Companies who do offer EAP as an employee benefit need to promote it more and more importantly the confidentiality thereof. Putting up posters on notice boards or in lunchrooms is not enough as people really need it when they are in their darkest place and do not want to search for a number on notice boards or on the intranet at work.  Utilising wallet size cards similar to business cards is far more effective.  Encourage employees to place it in their wallets or handbags as that one card can have a life changing effect on people and their families who they support. Reminding employees during Toolbox sessions of the program will promote a healthy culture and create good employee wellbeing.

Job security is one of the biggest concerns employees have and when you lose a job through redundancy can have devasting results on an income earner as returning to the job market is not easy.  Providing redundant employees with a few EAP sessions after their last working day will assist employees to get back into the workforce quicker.

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