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Getting evidence on good mental health ROI

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Getting evidence on good mental health ROI

While support for employee mental health and wellbeing generally has become the norm, there’s still a lack of hard evidence of ROI – limiting investment and making the HR approach look woolly. We’ve reached the stage where depression and anxiety is talked about, out in the open rather than dealt with behind closed doors, and people are more able to be people, not forced to adopt a rigid employee persona.

According to the Government’s Thriving at Work report, the cost of poor mental health among employees is costing employers between £33 and £42 billion. UK employers bear much of the burden of the costs of ill-health in general, chronic disease and incapacity, and HR need to have a better grasp of which particular interventions help them mitigate against these costs. In other words, talking about new attitudes to mental health, providing yoga sessions and free fruit, may feel the right thing to do, but there need to be hard numbers on Return on Investment.

There’s been some research on the ROI of some workplace health interventions over the last 30 years. But much of it originates in the USA where employers bear significant healthcare costs and have a direct financial interest in improving workforce health and promoting early intervention. The more reliable research includes a study by the large US insurance firm insurance firm LifeSolutions which found a return of between $5.17 and $6.47 (in terms of increased work productivity) for each dollar spent on the EAP. An academic study involving work with the Australian Fire Service found that mental health training for managers led to real impact on work-related absence and an ROI of £9.98 for each pound spent; while the Government’s Thriving at Work highlighted a significant return for employers investing in mental health interventions: an average of £4.20 for every £1 (with a range up to £9).

And while EAPs are the most commonly used workforce health intervention in the UK with close to half of the workforce (a total of almost 14 million) having access, very few providers or employers are able to collect systematic evaluation data beyond ‘take-up’ or utilisation statistics and satisfaction surveys. To help bridge this gap, EAPA launched the EAP calculator in October last year. Independently developed by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES), this new tool can be used by HR professionals to estimate the value of their EAP investment. Since the launch, there are now 529 users with the average return on investment calculated at £10.44 per £1 investment.

The more the calculator is used, the richer the dataset becomes. In turn this data can be used to revise and update the methodology, building the rigour and realism of the figures put forward to senior executives in boardrooms. There’s then a clear basis for investment in more specific mental health initiatives for employees. And over time, as the UK dataset grows and the anonymous data is collated and analysed, there is the detail needed for organisations and HR teams to benchmark returns and value against comparative employers in their sector and region.

The web tool available here and is available to everyone. We encourage EAPA members to try the EAP calculator and share with their clients to help build the data available. The full calculator has more detail, variables and greater intricacy and can handle employers with over 15,000 employees. Plans are underway to make the full calculator available in the coming months and we will keep members updated as this progresses.

Celebrating Anastasia Rush

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Celebrating Anastasia Rush

I am writing on behalf of UK EAPA to express our deep sadness at the passing of our colleague Anastasia Rush of Hellas EAP in Greece.

Anastasia was one of the great figures of our industry and a true pioneer who brought EAP to Greece and whose drive and passion for mental health helped advance the development of the industry across Europe. As well as being a clinician she was a formidable businesswoman and a real force to be reckoned with. Those of us who encountered Anastasia, often during one of the European or U.S. conferences, will have fond memories of great times spent in the company of an indomitable and inspirational character. The positive impact that EAP continues to have on thousands of lives in Greece and beyond is a tribute to her personal philosophy and will serve as a fitting legacy.

Our thoughts are with Anastasia’s friends, family and colleagues at this time.

Neil Mountford, Chair, UK EAPA

New research from Aon shows debt, relationship breakup and bullying are the top employer concerns about employee mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New research from Aon shows debt, relationship breakup and bullying are the top employer concerns about employee mental health

Aon, the global professional services firm, polled employers online and during a recent seminar where Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and co-author of the government’s Thriving at Work report presented his findings. Of the 92 employers surveyed, 39 stated that money and debt were their biggest concerns for employee mental health, 27 said divorce and separation, and 26 said bullying and harassment was the biggest issue.

Loneliness is also a factor in today’s workplaces, with 22 employers highlighting it as a factor. Working carers, bereavement, technology, home/lone working and the menopause are also of concern. The poll enabled employers to highlight other mental health issues. These were addiction, which eight employers noted as an issue, along with gender, sexuality and race.

Aon has also published a paper, The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health, showing the issues that can contribute to or cause poor employee mental health. It details how understanding and addressing concerns with a broader, more comprehensive approach is required to help prevent issues from occurring, detecting any problems early on, providing rapid interventions and supporting employees who have longer-term issues.

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon and EAPA executive board member, said: “There are many drivers of poor mental health both in and out of work and because mental health has a dynamic nature, employees will have different levels of mental health at any given time. Some of these issues may be newly identified and therefore not yet fully considered by employers; others may be taboo, exacerbating the original personal issue and creating a culture of silence that can be more difficult to tackle.”

Beyond the effects of poor mental health on the individual, mental health is a significant issue for businesses. It can increase presenteeism and absence, negatively impact productivity, morale and engagement, amounting to an average cost per employee of between £1,205 and £1,560 per year, according to Deloitte. This cost is for all employees, not just those who are ill.

“It is not difficult to see why so many people may be impacted by poor mental health. Relate research, for instance, shows that 18% of relationships are in a distressed state at any one time1. Relationship failure is second only to bereavement as a cause of mental distress. Of concern, too, are the 1 in 9 people in the UK who currently combine work with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives. By 2040, when the 65 and over age bracket will account for 25% of the population, that 1 in 9 is projected to be 1 in 6, according to Eldercare. The issue is even more daunting for those tasked with caring for elderly parents alongside children – the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ of approximately 2.4 million people in the UK,” added Charles.

“Within any organisational demographic there will be thriving workers, struggling workers and those with mental illness, so interventions are needed such as designing a positive, open and supportive culture around mental health and mitigating any psychosocial risks in the workplace itself. EAPs can play an important role in supporting an organisation’s mental health strategy, both in terms of ensuring early detection of mental ill health, as well as providing access to treatment and services to support recovery,” he said.

 

EAPA UK AGM 2019

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

EAPA UK AGM 2019

EAPA UK is pleased to announce that, for the eighth year running, it will be participating in the annual Health and Wellbeing at Work event which will take place on 5-6 March 2019. As in past years, we will be exhibiting, contributing to the speaker programme and also hosting the UK EAPA AGM at this event.

Health and Wellbeing at Work is all about improving the health and wellbeing of work-aged people. The conference will explore a wide range of issues and includes a focus on national developments, service innovations, examples of best practice and latest research.

UK EAPA chair, Neil Mountford will be leading a debate on Wednesday 6 March at 11.05 as part of the Mental Health stream on how occupational health and EAPs can respond to the new NICE guidelines for depression. Past chair and EAPA executive board member, Andrew Kinder will also be speaking on Wednesday 6 March at 14.50 on the topic of bereavement, loss and grief within the workplace as part of the Emotional Wellbeing and Resilience stream. Click here to view the full programme.

The UK EAPA AGM will also take place at 5.15pm on Tuesday 5 March and we hope as many of our members as possible will be able to attend. More information on the AGM will be provided in due course.

In the meantime, registration for the event is now open. Register before 15 January to receive the super early bird rate.

 

Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

Research published last week by management consultancy firm, Accenture has found that two thirds (66%) of UK workers report having had a personal experience with mental ill health. This rose to 85% when individuals were asked if someone close to them had experienced mental health issues and 90% said they had been “touched by mental health challenges”.

It is encouraging that 82% felt more able to talk about such issues than they did a few years previously and that more than a quarter (27%) of respondents said they’d seen a positive change in employees speaking openly about mental health. However, 61% have not spoken to anyone at work about their mental health and 51% believe raising concerns about it might have a detrimental effect on their career.

“It’s clear that mental health is not a minority issue; it touches almost all employees and can affect their ability to perform at work and live life to the fullest,” said Barbara Harvey, a managing director and UK mental health lead for Accenture.

“This latest research highlights the need for employers to proactively manage mental health in the workplace by changing the organisational culture to be more open and supportive. EAPs are an important part of the mental health toolkit and can play a crucial role in addressing issues early before they escalate to a more serious level. We encourage employers to put in place an ongoing promotional strategy that showcases the services and support available to all employees through an EAP rather than it being seen as a safety net to help those when they have reach the point of being unable to cope,” said Neil Mountford, chair, EAPA UK.

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

The next EAPA branch meeting will take place at 11.30 next Wednesday 5 December at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Coffee will be available from 11.00 am. We are pleased to announce that EAPA board members, Amanda Smith and Tracey Paxton will be running a session based on the #metoo theme about the role of EAPs in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. This will be an interactive session for providers, commissioners and practitioners.

Former Director of Nursing, Tracey Paxton has 30 years’ experience of working within the NHS as a practising clinician and a senior hospital manager.  She is the clinical director for Amian EAP and has extensive experience of managing NHS EAP services.  Tracey has vast experience in the field of mental and physical health and wellbeing training.  She is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse in Learning Disabilities and Mental Health and has an MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy.  A trauma specialist, workplace mediator and trainer, she has published important research and received a national award in the House of Lords for her work within Mental Health.

As Clinical Director for Vivup Health and Wellbeing, Amanda Smith is a former Head of Health and Wellbeing and Clinical Lead for a large specialist NHS Mental Health Trust incorporating EAP services which supported EAP services for over 55,000 NHS and private sector employees, in addition to her strategic role within the NHS Trust. A trauma therapist, Amanda is an experienced mental health trainer, workplace mediator, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Coach and employee wellbeing thought leader.

EAPA members are encouraged to bring a colleague as a guest for this part of the meeting. Please email info@eapa.org.uk to confirm your attendance.

EAP mental health enquiries on the rise

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

EAP mental health enquiries on the rise

Data from Health Assured shows that the number of mental health enquiries to EAPs by UK employees has increased by 31% since last year.

The figures released in September 2018, compare the first six months of 2017 with the same period in 2018 and show that mental health enquiries have increased more than all other advice calls, including those relating to work stress, relationships and general health, rising from 23% of all calls in 2017 to 36% in 2018.

The statistics are based on over 100,000 employee interactions with Health Assured’s EAP in the first and second quarters of 2017, and over 150,000 interactions in quarter one and quarter two of 2018.

Health Assured CEO, David Price, said: “Our statistics show that it’s important to build an open workplace culture regarding mental health from the top level down. This will involve educating all employees on mental health issues and regularly monitoring staff to see how they are feeling, whilst assessing how the workplace can be improved to support positive employee health and wellbeing. Employers should provide information on the services they have available to support staff, for example, confidential telephone advice or counselling.”

Neil Mountford, chair of EAPA UK, agrees: “Whilst it is encouraging that the statistics from Health Assured appear to show that more employees are seeking support with mental health issues, this should also be a call to action for employers to examine what they are doing at a more systemic level to build a workplace culture that promotes good mental health.”

Update from the EAPA 2018 conference

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Update from the EAPA 2018 conference

This week, EAPA UK chair, Neil Mountford reports on his recent attendance at the EAPA 2018 conference.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the EAPA 2018 conference last month, held in Minneapolis. This is the leading conference for the U.S. EAP industry but is also attended by EAP professionals from around the world.  It was encouraging to see good international representation and to have the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and understand how EAP is developing in different regions.

One of the key themes of the conference was around the development of AI technology platforms that provide interactive support for those dealing with a range of mental health and other issues who might otherwise be reluctant to seek help from a more conventional EAP.  These technologies are being positioned as complimentary to the EAP and clearly there are challenges and concerns to be addressed. However, there is no doubt that they will become an increasingly important component of EAPs in the near future.

At the event, Greg DeLapp, CEO of EAPA also announced that EAPA would be engaging external consultants to undertake a fundamental review of the organisation to understand how it needs to change to best serve the industry in the future.  The outcome of this project will no doubt offer some valuable insights and ideas for us in the UK and which we will share in due course.

Managing workplace mental health more effectively

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Managing workplace mental health more effectively

Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day, a day created by mental health charity, Mind, to encourage people to take a moment to think about their wellbeing. It’s also a great opportunity for employers to look at what more they can do to support mental wellbeing at work.

The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), released last week, show that work-related stress and mental illness now accounts for over half of work absences. In total, 15.4 million working days were lost in 2017/2018 as a result of mental ill health, up from 12.5 million last year. This equates to 57.3% of the 26.8 million work days lost to ill health.

“While a new 24-hour mental health hotline along with funding for a new mental health service were announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond as part of the Autumn Budget last week, it is clear that employers need to be more proactive in addressing workplace mental health and supporting their employees more effectively,” said Neil Mountford, chair, UK EAPA.

It is positive to note that a recent survey by EAPA registered provider, Aon, shows that businesses are taking an increasingly strategic approach. Aon’s UK Health Survey found that 41% of businesses currently have a mental health strategy in place and 43% more are looking to create one. “Many businesses aim to build this strategy as a core part of their employee benefits provision, recognising that the right employee benefits play a critical role in prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and longer-term support,” explained Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon.

“EAPs are a key of that mental health strategy and we are seeing EAPs adapting and evolving to keep pace with the changing needs of employers and their employees,” said Neil Mountford. “The biggest impact is in a re-positioning of how an EAP is used, away from the last resort for serious issues and concerns towards being a more everyday source of advice and support – less the counsellor and more a friendly colleague who has the right answers. Employers are also becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data and that the more an EAP is promoted, the more it is used and that means more data is collected on employee concerns and levels of physical and mental wellbeing. This then provides an early warning system on organisational wellbeing and evidence to inform better HR strategy-making.”

“We urge employers to consult with their EAP providers and tap into their experience and expertise to better understand how EAP programmes can be used most effectively to support a wider wellbeing strategy,” said Neil.

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

The next EAPA branch meeting will take place at 11.00 on Wednesday 5 December at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Coffee will be available from 10.30am. The guest speaker will be announced in due course and a full agenda with timings will be circulated nearer to the event. In the meantime, please email info@eapa.org.uk to confirm your attendance.

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