Posts Tagged ‘EAP’

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.

 

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.

CIPD launches revised guide on Mental Health for Managers

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

CIPD launches revised guide on Mental Health for Managers

The CIPD, in association with mental health charity, Mind last week launched a revised and updated guide for managers to improve support for those experiencing stress and mental health issues at work.

How people are treated and managed on a day-to-day basis is central to their mental well-being and engagement, as well as the level of trust in the employment relationship. CIPD research finds that management style is the second main cause of work-related stress, showing that how managers go about their role has a direct impact on people’s mental well-being.

The updated guidance follows recent CIPD research which found that less than one in three organisations (32%) train line managers to support staff with poor mental health. Mental ill health is now the primary cause of long-term sickness absence for over one in five (22%) UK organisations. A recent Mind survey of over 44,000 employees also found that only two in five (42%) felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health.

This latest resource for managers follows the Government-commissioned ‘Thriving at Work’ report last year, which made recommendations to employers about how to better support people with mental health problems to stay – and thrive – in their jobs. The independent report found a need for workplaces to improve the disclosure process, and called on employers to create an open culture where staff feel able to talk about mental health. The free guide will give managers the information, resources and tools they need to effectively and confidently support employee mental health at work. Being able to spot the warning signs of poor mental health and offer the right support early on can have a significant impact.

Rachel Suff, Senior Employment Relations Adviser at the CIPD, said: “The role of line managers in employee well-being is vital. They are often the first port of call for someone needing help, and are most likely to see warning signs of poor mental health among employees. With the right capabilities and tools in place, they will have the ability and confidence to have sensitive conversations, intervene when needed, and signpost to the right support when needed. The positive impact that this can have on people’s well-being is enormous, but the business will also reap the benefits of happier, healthier, more engaged and productive employees.”

Paul Roberts, EAPA executive member, said: “EAPA agrees that employers are increasingly taking steps to promote good mentally healthy workplaces. Our members report increasing numbers of SME employers buying Employee Assistance Programmes to catch up with the best practice employers in supporting employees. This managers guide is a great free resource.”

You can read the full guide here.

Latest news from Employee Benefits Live 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Latest news from Employee Benefits Live 2018

Cayla Kitayama, responsible for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) benefits at technology organisation Google, will discuss mental health and the changing landscape of wellbeing strategies at Employee Benefits Live 2018.

Kitayama’s keynote presentation, titled ‘Putting health and wellbeing at the heart of your benefits strategy’, will open the two-day event’s conference programme on Tuesday 2 October 2018 at 10.00am.

The session will explore how the wellbeing space has developed in relation to benefits, moving from medical and life insurances into a clearer focus around mental health. Kitayama will highlight why mental health in particular is so important for employers to consider, as well as provide recommendations on what organisations can do in this space.

Kitayama said: “Mental health is really important and that’s an area that should be focused on when [employers are] thinking of benefits strategies and how [they] create [their] benefits. What can [employers] do to make people more aware of it, to help equip managers and business partners to help support their employees, and how can [organisations] help the employees themselves take ownership of this space? One of the things I want people to really take away is what they can do, what can they implement in their own [organisations].”

As well as talking about the wellbeing landscape more generally, Kitayama will specifically speak on what Google as an employer does, and how it creates and implements its own strategies and programmes around both wellbeing and benefits. “I’m very conscious of people just feeling [that] Google [is] a big employer, [it] has loads of money, of course [it] can create these programmes. But there’s a whole thing that all employers can do, regardless of size,” Kitayama added.

Kitayama will further use examples from Google to showcase the organisation’s experience of benefits within a growing organisation, and will demonstrate how it applies a global philosophy to localised country benefits programmes.

The session will also explore the role of the employer in employee wellbeing. Kitayama said: “As employers, I think we have a really unique opportunity here to help in that space. As employers who are responsible for the wellbeing of our employees, it’s our responsibility to really help support in this area.”

Kitayama will also discuss the UK’s current scene for mental wellbeing at work, explaining that employees are now aware of mental health and are happy to acknowledge that they may need some form of help; however, this is very different from actively seeking assistance. Kitayama feels this is where employers can have an impact.

“Benefits exist to attract and retain employees and what we’ve seen a lot over the years is that things such as stress, anxiety and depression, these are some of the most crippling areas that people are really suffering with,” she explained. “[These have] knock-on impacts to other parts of the benefits programme in general. For the employee, they obviously have to feel the best they can be.”

Employee Benefits Live 2018 will take place on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 October 2018 at ExCeL London.

For more information or to register for the show please click here

 

 

Latest news from Employee Benefits Live 2018

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

Latest news from Employee Benefits Live 2018

Damien Hooper-Campbell, vice president and chief diversity officer at e-commerce organisation eBay, will open the conference programme on day two of Employee Benefits Live on Wednesday 3 October 2018.

Hooper-Campbell’s keynote address, titled ‘Breaking with conventions’, will take a closer look at long-term diversity and inclusion strategies within the technology sector, and why these are often bypassed by employers in favour of short-term fixes. Hooper-Campbell will present the case that breaking this convention is a must.

The session will discuss the three-pronged diversity and inclusion strategy implemented at eBay and explain its focuses on the organisation’s workforce, workplace and marketplace. Furthermore, Hooper-Campbell will demonstrate how eBay can utilise its own platform to impact on and improve diversity and inclusion.

Hooper-Campbell, eBay’s first chief diversity officer, is responsible for leading the design and implementation of the organisation’s strategy for embedding diversity and inclusion across its global workforce. He also fronts the university recruiting and programmes team, to ensure that diversity and inclusion is inherent to eBay’s recruiting strategy.

Hooper-Campbell will be able to provide vast insight from the technology sector specifically as, prior to his time at eBay, he worked as the first global head of diversity and inclusion at taxi organisation Uber, where he founded the organisation’s diversity and inclusion strategy and led its community engagement approach. He has also advised technology business Google and served as vice president of financial services firm Goldman Sachs’ leadership development group.

Employee Benefits Live 2018 will take place on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 October 2018 at ExCeL London.

For more information or to register for the show click here.

The rise of mental health apps

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

The rise of mental health apps

In recent years, there has been a huge rise in the number of mental health apps available. There are now hundreds of downloadable programmes and specific content aimed at those struggling with a range of mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety and addiction as well as those more generally promoting health and wellness.

Some of these apps claim to diagnose and help relieve symptoms. They have certainly become very popular with users, but how reliable is the advice they provide?

A recent article in Psychology Today highlights the issues citing research from the American Psychiatric Association that warns that self-diagnosing apps are unreliable and may overtreat. The Association has expressed concerns about the kind of advice and diagnoses being given and that these types of apps may lead to excessive self-monitoring without professional guidance.

The article also references a new study led by the Sydney School of Pharmacy, which has analysed 61 mental health apps. Of central concern was how the apps defined mental health and what they signalled as contributing factors to mental illness.

Andrew Kinder, executive board member of UK EAPA said: “The popularity of mental health apps shows the ongoing interest in this area which is helpful in that peoples’ concerns are now being articulated with support options being provided.  However, the efficacy of such apps, for example, who controls the data, the overdiagnosis of everyday stress issues and the over-reliance or placebo on smartphone apps, are clearly concerns which need to be addressed.

“Within EAPs, there is certainly a move to provide a greater breadth of mental health support, including within the digital space.  More can be done to keep EAP offerings modern and accessible, although the benefit of EAPs is that support is offered in many different forms, in person either face-to-face or telephone with clear clinical governance in place which checks their efficacy.”

Neil Mountford, chair of UK EAPA agrees: “Technologies such as mobile apps and web-based platforms certainly have a role to play in enabling wider access to information around mental health issues, particularly for those who are either anxious about seeking one-to-one support either telephonically or face-to-face, or do not have easy access to those services.

“The challenge in an unregulated environment is how the user can make an informed decision on which tools are best for them and contain content and approaches that are credible, clinically robust and backed up by research evidence.  The danger is that some will promote content and advice that is spurious and in some cases could do more harm than good.

“Good quality EAPs will use these technologies responsibly as components of an integrated suite that offers appropriate support, information and onward referral.”

 

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.”

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