Three fact-based reasons to have an EAP

1.  The problem.  At some time during our lives, we can all be vulnerable to the impact of major personal and family problems.

When personal problems overwhelm our coping resources, the emotional, cognitive and physiological effects become evident in our behavior in all spheres of life, at home and in the workplace. According to Mental Health America, “More than 90 percent of employees agree that their mental health and personal problems spill over into their professional lives, and have a direct impact on their job performance.”

Examples of personal problems that can affect employees:

• Marital conflict

• Financial worries

• Child’s behavior or learning problems

• Domestic violence

• Stress or anxiety

• Loss and grief

• Depression

• Occupational problems

• Alcohol and drug abuse

• Child care and elder care concerns

Unresolved personal problems can affect on-the-job behavior in many ways:

• Mental distraction

• Irritability, anger

• Lower frustration tolerance

• Interpersonal conflict

• Fatigue

• Physiological symptoms of stress

• Tension

• Loss of enthusiasm (burnout)

• Reduced creativity

• Impaired decision-making ability

  The cost. The increased frequency or intensity of these behavioral and physiological changes have costly effects on productivity, profitability, and safety of the workplace.

• Absenteeism

• Impaired job performance

• Presenteeism

• Increased use of health insurance benefits

• Mistakes and re-work

• Increased disability claims

• Accidents

• Increased use of sick leave

• Poor decisions

• Decreased interest and motivation

It is impossible to quantify the total cost of personal problems. Mental Health America estimates that “untreated and mistreated mental illness costs the United States $150 billion in lost productivity each year, and U.S. businesses foot up to $44 billion of this bill”.

  The solution.  Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are designed precisely to help organizations reduce the impact of unresolved personal problems on job performance. The goal of an EAP is to help workers cope with their problems so they can return to optimum levels of functioning on the job.

According to Mental Health America, “Three out of four employees who seek care for workplace issues or mental health problems see substantial improvement in work performance after treatment.”

The bottom line:  Can your company
not to have an EAP?

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