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EAPA supports the Mad World Summit, 9 October 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

EAPA supports the Mad World Summit, 9 October 2018

UK EAPA is delighted to be supporting the Mad World Summit, taking place on 9 October in London. Good mental health in the workplace is fundamental to business success and Mad World is playing a key role in this by putting mental health at the heart of the business agenda.

The focus of the event is about moving from stigma to solutions when it comes to workplace wellbeing and attendees will hear from an outstanding line up of speakers including:

  • Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK & Campaign Chair, Heads Together
  • Prof. Sir Cary Cooper CBE, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester & President, CIPD
  • Professor Dame Carol Black, Principal, Newnham College & Expert Adviser to Public Health England & NHS England
  • Dr Charles Lattarulo, Global Director of Healthy Minds Program, American Express
  • Dr Shaun Davis, Global Director of Health, Safety, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail Group
  • Dr Kai Haas, Managerial Occupational Physician/Health Management, Airbus
  • Mia VanStraelen, HR Director, IBM
  • Kimberley Swift, Health & Wellness Manager, PepsiCo
  • Becky Thoseby, Group Head of Wellbeing, Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Medical Director – Mental Health, BUPA

The comprehensive agenda, which features keynote presentations, roundtables and networking opportunities, has been designed to benefit delegates in four ways:

  • Learn how to integrate mental health into existing wellbeing strategies
  • Gain inspiration from innovative leaders
  • Uncover the right solutions for your organisation
  • Share ideas and experiences with peers

“We are really pleased to be a part of Mad World. It’s vital that businesses have the right plans in place to support their employees and develop positive mental health throughout their workplaces. As partners of the summit, we can continue to raise awareness and understanding around the role EAPs can play in helping organisations to achieve this,” said Neil Mountford, chair of UK EAPA.

As a supporter of the event, EAPA is pleased to be able to extend a 30% discount on the delegate price to all EAPA members who may be interested in attending the event in October. Keep an eye out for a member update coming out soon with details of the discount code or email info@eapa.org.uk for the code should you wish to book sooner.

BiTC Mental Health at Work Survey 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

BiTC Mental Health at Work Survey 2018

Now in its third year, Business in the Community’s Mental Health at Work survey, in conjunction with Mercer, is the UK’s biggest survey of mental health at work. Everyone has mental health in the same way as everyone has physical health. Mental ill-health is one of the biggest public health challenges facing society and research shows that one in six workers are experiencing stress, depression or anxiety at any one time. Business in the Community want to find out how employers are supporting people in order to develop recommendations for business to improve.

The 2017 survey findings highlighted:

  • Three out of every five (60%) employees had experienced mental health issues due to work or where work was a related factor
  • 84% of managers accepted that employee wellbeing is their responsibility yet less than a quarter (24%) had received any training in mental health
  • Shockingly in 15% of cases where employees disclosed a mental health issue to a line manager, the employee subsequently became subject to disciplinary procedures, demotion or dismissal.

“UK EAPA welcomes and supports the BiTC Mental Health at Work survey and the insights it provides into how attitudes towards mental health in the work place are changing,” said Neil Mountford, chair, UK EAPA.  “EAP is a key resource and source of support on these issues which is available to an increasing number of employees and we would like to encourage our members to support and promote this year’s survey.”

The survey is open to anyone in the UK who is employed or self-employed and over the age of 16, all responses are anonymous and the survey can be completed at www.thewellbeingsurvey.org.uk.

The survey will close on 27 July with the report and recommendations due to be published in October.

The importance of promoting EAP services

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

The importance of promoting EAP services

A US study published last week has revealed that the promotion of EAP services in the workplace has a significant and positive impact on overall EAP usage.

The study examined utilisation data from US EAP provider, KGA to explore the impact of different kinds of promotional activity on increasing and decreasing the use of EAP services. Analysts reviewed the utilisation records over a two-year period for 82 employers, with 150,000 total covered employees. Interviews were also conducted with HR managers which uncovered themes around the challenges to promotion and the potential tactics that could be most effective.

The analysis of 5,985 EAP cases found that promotional materials were the number one source of referral into the EAP, with one in three cases citing it.

“This latest study highlights the importance of an effective promotional strategy in driving user awareness and engagement with EAPs,” said Neil Mountford, Chair of UK EAPA. “We know from our members that employers who engage in regular EAP promotional activity, particularly online through webinars, email promotions and apps, can see a significant uplift in usage.”

“We urge employers to consult with their EAP provider and tap into their experience and expertise in creating promotional plans tailored to the needs of the organisation. EAP providers can also advise on which channels have been proven to work most effectively and can help develop the messaging around EAP promotion so that it addresses the specific priorities and concerns of their workforce,” he said.

“The more effort an organisation puts into promoting the EAP programme and driving engagement and utilisation, the better its data will be. This can provide valuable insights into how employees are feeling as well as point to early warning signs of recurring themes around physical or mental wellbeing and general workplace issues and ensures that the right areas are prioritised by the organisation. At a time when mental wellbeing is top of the HR agenda, there has never been a better time to look at EAPs and broaden perceptions around what it can do and how it can fit in with a wider wellbeing strategy.”

Collaborating to create healthier workplaces

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Collaborating to create healthier workplaces

Earlier this week, UK EAPA was pleased to welcome Nick Pahl, CEO of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) as the guest speaker at the June 2018 Branch Meeting. SOM is the UK organisation for all doctors and health professionals working in or with an interest in occupational health. During his presentation, Nick highlighted the work of SOM and some key issues facing the occupational health sector, sparking an insightful discussion around the areas where UK EAPA and SOM might collaborate to further educate practitioners, purchasers and the Government on the value and respective roles of EAPs and OH in contributing to healthier workplaces. Attendees also explored the ways in which the two organisations can better interface with one another to improve overall effectiveness for the sector.

During the meeting, there was also discussion of a possible joint approach to the Government’s Work and Health Unit which has been jointly sponsored by the Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. Other issues raised included the need for further research to improve the evidence base, how EAPs and occupational health can work more preventatively and tax incentives for employers.

“I would like to thank Nick for joining us and engaging our members and their occupational health colleagues in a really interesting discussion around how we can work better together. We will be meeting again to work through some ideas for collaborative projects and will report back in due course,” said Neil Mountford, chair of UK EAPA.

The slides from Nick Pahl’s presentation will be made available via the EAPA website.

Q&A with Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Q&A with Nick Pahl, CEO, Society of Occupational Medicine

Nick Pahl, CEO of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) will be our guest speaker at the branch meeting taking place next Tuesday 19 June. Here, Nick provides an insight into some of the key trends and developments in occupational health, particularly around mental health at work.

What are the key trends in the development of OH that are forecast over the next few years, particularly in the area of mental health?

Occupational health services cover around 50% of the UK’s population. I expect that coverage to increase, to cover more small and medium enterprises. This may be facilitated by new incentives that the Government will create following current policy activity in this area.

Considering the time it takes to train skilled professionals, I would expect this expansion to be facilitated via the use of lower skilled occupational health professionals, such as occupational health technicians. I also hope and expect that that there would be great emphasis on a multidisciplinary occupational health team using nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and technicians, as well as doctors. This team will ideally link seamlessly with EAP providers and HR services.

Without doubt we will see greater use of IT, both in terms of hand held / smart phone records held by workers to assist with workplace health issues and, integration of occupational health IT activity with other employee support.

In terms of mental health, I unfortunately think that the rapid change in the “nature” of work will accelerate, with a response from workers in stress and anxiety as they perceive less control over their work and sense of purpose. There will also likely be a continued rise in the numbers of the “precariat” and people close to the poverty line who do not have access to workplace health. This is a challenge that I hope the Government responds to.

What are your views in response to the Thriving at Work report?

I welcome the focus on mental health at work. Along with musculoskeletal conditions, mental health is one of the two main issues UK workers face. Disclosure of mental health issues is important, as openness towards mental health issues is a key barrier to positive progress in this area. Of course, we all need to learn to be resilient to deal with life’s challenges and we need to be careful not to medicalise mental health issues if at all possible.

It is great to see the Government responding in full to the report’s recommendations. However, I am concerned that encouraging demand for mental health services is not matched by resources for supply. There also needs to be a focus on good jobs and job design so that problems don’t emerge from structural issues. The role of the manager is critical to ensure good mental health at work – to manage well, and give control to workers. But there is a limit to what managers can do. I’d like to see a greater evidence base for mental health first aid training, which is seeing considerable resource investment in this area.

How are EAPs viewed and what’s the general level of awareness?

EAPs have a key role to play in improving mental health at work. It is not a total panacea but it can really assist with issues that contribute to poor mental health through counselling and advice on debt, legal issues relating to divorce and other “outside-work” issues.

SOM members are aware that EAPs really make a difference providing proactive and direct support for the benefit of employees. I’m sure that EAP services are clear on what advice is given and how that matches company needs but that needs to be explicit, in particular for companies that have both an OH and EAP offer.  I know occupational health professionals would welcome greater collaboration between EAPs and OH – and for there to be a greater joined-up strategic approach to improving mental health.

What do you see as the key strengths of an EAP service?

A key strength of an EAP service versus an OH service is that EAPs can be available very swiftly (such as via phone). They also work hand-in-hand with OH to help create an environment where employees feel supported.  It’s worth reminding ourselves that each workplace is different and an exercise of health surveillance is a key first step to assess what services a workplace needs is important.

Finally, I would expect EAPs and OH to work together further in the future and I hope the discussions between EAP providers and SOM are fruitful, to facilitate this further.

You can hear more from Nick Pahl at the branch meeting next Tuesday 19 June at 11.00 at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Members are encouraged to bring OH colleagues as guests for this part of the meeting. To confirm your attendance, email info@eapa.org.uk.

40% of GP appointments now involve mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

40% of GP appointments now involve mental health

A survey of more than 1,000 GPs conducted by mental health charity Mind has revealed that two in three GPs (66%) say the proportion of patients needing help with their mental health has increased in the last 12 months. In the light of these results, the charity is calling for better mental health training for GPs as four out of five doctors surveyed agreed there should be a wider range of options for mental health training.

“It will also be important to increase awareness among GPs about the services provided by EAPs so that they can encourage patients, where appropriate, to check if they have access to such provision and support services via their employer. This type of joined-up approach is crucial in helping us to better address and support mental health and ensure conversations start as early as possible,” said Neil Mountford, chair, EAPA UK.

“This latest survey again highlights the need for employers to recognise mental health in the same way they do physical health. Actively addressing mental health in this way will benefit businesses financially by reducing the costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism and reputationally as they are recognised as a caring and ethical employer. EAPs have a significant preventative role to play and we urge employers to work with their providers to raise awareness about the services and support on offer,” he said.

Supporting the mental wellbeing of line managers

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Supporting the mental wellbeing of line managers

Research from the Chartered Institute of Management shows that the average manager puts in an extra 7.5 hours a week, equating to 44 more working days a year. That effectively cancels out holiday allowance and such demands mean that one in 10 managers have reported taking sick leave for stress and mental health issues over the last year.

When it comes to addressing mental health at work much has been written about the importance of mental health first aid training for line managers and their role in promoting support services, such as EAPs, to employees. And while this is vitally important in creating a culture of acceptance around mental health, we must also ensure that the line managers themselves, are not overlooked.

“Managers are often under pressure to be ‘always on’, checking and responding to emails and calls out of hours or when on holiday and it is often this digital presenteeism that negatively impacts work-life balance and increases stress levels in managers,” said Neil Mountford, EAPA chair.

“Failure to address the pressures and concerns facing managers can also lead to bad management which in turn creates additional stress and poor mental wellbeing both for the manager and potentially those in their teams. We also know that managers are often the most reluctant group to seek support for issues that are affecting them and that seeking help can be viewed as a sign of ‘weakness’ or worry that they may be judged and unable to cope.

“Changing the organisational culture to be more supportive of mental health should therefore also involve changing manager attitudes and behaviours and encouraging them to take action to address issues affecting their own mental wellbeing. EAPs, can be an important resource for managers.  Most will offer a Manager Consultation service which provides the opportunity for managers to discuss issues they are struggling with in a confidential setting and an approach that is generally practical and pragmatic.

“To encourage more effective use of these types of services, we urge employers to promote EAPs as a useful professional and personal development tool for managers, rather than simply a safety net for those who can’t cope,” said Neil.

Mind finds employees staying silent on poor mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Mind finds employees staying silent on poor mental health

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on the way stress impacts our lives. As part of this, a major new survey from Mind, of almost 44,000 employees, has found that almost half (48 per cent) had experienced poor mental health, such as stress, low mood, and anxiety, while working at their current organisation. Of those respondents, only half chose to tell their employer about their difficulties (10,554).

The data was gathered from the 74 organisations that took part in Mind’s latest Workplace Wellbeing Index, a benchmark of best policy and practice which celebrates the work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health. These new findings also show:

  • More than eight in ten people (84 per cent) would continue to go to work when experiencing poor mental health while only just over half (58 per cent) would go to work when experiencing poor physical health
  • Only two fifths (42 per cent) of all employees surveyed felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health
  • A fifth (21 per cent) of all respondents feel that their current workload is unmanageable

Employers taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index are aiming to create a culture where staff feel able to talk openly about their mental health. Encouragingly this year two thirds (61 per cent) of employers taking part in the Index intend to increase spend on workplace wellbeing activities to create a more positive and open culture.

“This latest survey from Mind shows that there is still a lot of work to be done to destigmatise mental health in the workplace. Crucially, employers need to create workplace wellbeing strategies that treat mental health in the same way as physical health and work harder to foster a culture of acceptance so that employees are not anxious or intimidated about discussing mental health,” said EAPA chair, Neil Mountford.

“Employers need to make better use of the positive mental health support services available, such as EAPs, which can help tackle these high levels of stress,” said Neil. “We know from our members that EAPs are successfully helping employees. Recent figures from the LifeWorks EAP, for example, show that they have delivered mental health improvements in 92% of cases. So we urge employers to engage with their EAP providers to better understand how they can be used to support their mental health strategy and how they can work together on tailored communications, training and events to help raise awareness.”

More information about Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index can be found at mind.org.uk/index.

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 19 June 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 19 June 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

The next EAPA branch meeting will take place at 11.30 on 19 June at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Coffee will be available from 11am. We are delighted to announce that Nick Pahl, CEO of the Society for Occupational Health has confirmed his attendance as our guest speaker. This will be a great opportunity to hear Nick’s insights into developments within the OH space and to discuss how our associations can collaborate to foster a stronger working relationship between EAPs and Occupational Health services.

If you have an OH colleague you would like to bring as a guest to participate in this part of the meeting we would be happy to welcome them. A full agenda with timings will be circulated shortly, but in the meantime, please email info@eapa.org.uk to confirm your attendance.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in mental health

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week next week which makes it the perfect opportunity to review workplace health and wellbeing and think about what more employers could be doing to create, and promote, a culture of acceptance around mental health.

While the majority of work-related stress is attributed to workload, around 1 in 7 people say it is due to a lack of support despite EAPs being the most popular wellbeing initiative provided by employers in the UK. So why the disparity? “While awareness is growing, there’s still a significant disconnect between the EAP services already being provided by organisation to support workplace stress and wellbeing and awareness among employees,” explains EAPA UK chair, Neil Mountford. “There are a number of issues at play that are focused around a lack of understanding of what an EAP is and how it can help but also employee concerns about the confidentiality of these types of services. If employers are serious about creating mentally healthy workplaces, a good first step is dispelling the myths and improving the knowledge that exists around EAPs within their organisation.”

This starts with educating managers about the EAP and its services so that they can better communicate this to their teams and signpost more effectively when needed. Organisations could also think about hosting regular EAP awareness and mental health education sessions. By improving knowledge around EAPs, employers can help increase usage of the service and help mitigate mental health issues from escalating to the level of requiring clinical intervention and time away from work.

“We would encourage employers to talk to their EAP providers about working together to develop tailored communications and education sessions to increase knowledge and awareness around the wide range of services provided by EAPs. Organisations that do this will see the long term benefits of a successful EAP and the positive impact of employees wellbeing on the organisation through improved productivity and fewer days lost to mental ill health,” said Neil.

So if take-up of your EAP is low, Mental Health Awareness Week could be the perfect opportunity to start educating employees about what an EAP is and the different ways it can help.

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