Posts Tagged ‘EAP’

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.”

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

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

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.

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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