Around 15% of people in employment have symptoms of an existing mental health condition according to research, yet 43% of workers do not know if they are allowed to take a sick day for mental health reasons. With a greater focus on productivity and arguably more pressure on workers than ever before, are we talking enough about mental health in the workplace?

Employers have a responsibility to support their employees’ health, safety and welfare whilst at work. This includes proactive management of mental health within the workplace.

As an employer, one way to help meet your duty of care obligations is through a carefully selected package of employee benefits which include an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

What is an EAP?

Balancing everyday life with the requirements of work and home can create pressures on all of us. An EAP is designed to help people to proactively manage potential stresses in their life, for example:

  • Personal and family matters
  • Buying a new home
  • Managing money
  • Starting a new job
  • Retirement issues

An EAP can offer employees and their immediate family a structured way to work through these issues by giving them access to:

  • A 24-hour telephone support helpline
  • Face to face counselling
  • Legal, financial and consumer information
  • Medical information

Implementing an EAP

EAPs are widely available as part of a health care cash plan, a type of insurance policy which pays individuals tax free cash back towards everyday health costs such as dental treatment, eye tests, glasses and contact lenses and physiotherapy. Asset from Sovereign Health Care is a cost effective employer paid cash plan that not only supports the physical health of your staff, but also supports their mental health and wellbeing as it includes an EAP as standard.

At Sovereign we help you to communicate the benefits and services available to employees by sending a comprehensive welcome pack to their home address and providing face to face briefing presentations in the workplace.

An important message to convey about the EAP services is that all counsellors are bound by the confidentiality provisions of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Code of Ethics and Practice and the fact that an employee has used the EAP, or the content of any contact, will not be shared with their employer. The more comfortable your staff are with the service, the more likely they are to use it.

What are the benefits?

By providing specialist pro-active support, an EAP can help to relieve the stress on an individual and ultimately improve their mental wellbeing. This, in turn, can benefit your business too. Around 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK and it is easy to see how worries over finances, property or relationships, for example, might lead to an increased number of sick days, lower motivation and ultimately lower productivity in the workplace. So helping and supporting your employees during times of stress can benefit both them and your business.

Want to know more?

Click here to read more about our health and wellbeing solutions for businesses.

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