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Even though Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have been around for decades, they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve.  For years, I’ve made it my mission to advocate for mental health support and improve access to services for Canadians.  This is why I founded Aspiria in 2003, Canada’s sole provider of employee and student assistance programs.  With an increasing amount of recent studies showing the benefits of EAPs, employers  can invest in them with peace of mind knowing the value they bring to their employees and organization at a relatively low cost.

If you don’t already have an EAP available for  your employees and their families, here are some of the top reasons you should invest in one:

EAPs reduce absenteeism and improve productivity

When employees struggle with their mental health, it impacts their lives not only at home but in their work  life as well.  Employees experiencing mental health issues may have increased absences or feel unproductive or distracted while at work.  According to the 2020 Annual Report for the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS), work presenteeism, work engagement, workplace distress, work absenteeism and overall life satisfaction significantly improved when employees received counselling through their EAP.  While there should never be a price on mental health, this study showed that there is a significant return-on-investment for employers when they invest in the care of their employees.  If you’re unsure  about whether or not your employees would benefit from an EAP, I encourage you to ask not only providers, but also other employers about how their mental health services have helped employees.   

Robust EAPs lead to better utilization

When looking for an EAP provider, it’s important to know that not all EAPs are the same.  For this reason, I encourage you to fully review and understand what services are included when selecting a provider.  Are you going to purchase the EAP directly from the provider or through a third-party, like an insurer?  Direct EAPs offer options for customization. At Aspiria, for example, employers can consider full-service EAPs, where they have the ability to choose which services they’d like to include in their EAP package.  We do this because we know that not every client we work with is the same, nor are the employees who work for them.  By providing them with the option to select their services, we’re ensuring that their EAP offering reflects the needs of their employees and their organization.

A frequent misconception is that EAPs only offer counselling services. In addition to our mental health counselling services, we  offer legal, financial, nutritional, life and health coaching, crisis  response services, management consultation services, and more.  A more robust EAP provides maximum value for only a few pennies more than a scaled down version of an EAP.  According to one study, on average, full service EAPs purchased directly by employers averaged 3 times the counselling cases and 6 times the work-life cases than a EAP bundled with an insurance program

Demand for mental health resources is increasing

The need for mental health resources has never been greater.  While we’re lucky to have universal  healthcare in Canada, oftentimes there is a delay and long wait to access specific services,  mental health services being no exception.  Recently, the Ontario Medical Association announced that they expect the demand for mental health and addictions care will continue to grow for years after the COVID-19 pandemic.  By investing in an EAP, you’re investing in the long-term care and wellbeing of your employees, which only helps organizations become more productive.

I’ve worked with many clients over the years and a common concern has always been the value an EAP would bring to their employees and whether or not they’d use it  – we now have the data to prove that it works!.  If you’re interested in learning more about Aspiria’s EAP offering, contact us today!