Stress in the workplace is forcing many employees to turn to employee assistance programmes (EAPs), the Health Insurance Group has argued in new research.
Usage data from EAP provider Health Assured taken from a sample of nine million UK employees, it suggested 17% of those accessing EAPs had been from within the media, 11% from the NHS and retail respectively, and 10% working in public sector jobs.
The data also appeared to demonstrate that EAPs can make a difference. After using an EAP 60% returned to work, 64% showed improvement in their depression and 51% showed improvement to their anxiety.
“Employee wellness isn’t a simple fix but driven from the top and, with an understanding of the importance of a holistic approach, the improvements could be life-changing. Firms need to show some bravery and openness when addressing the stigmas of stress and mental health,” said Health Insurance Group managing director Brett Hill.
Separately, research from MetLife has suggested more than half (54%) of workers in the UK would consider using an EAP.
But employers and providers needed to rethink how they communicated the role and benefits of EAPs to employees, with workers too often assuming they were just about counselling and therefore potentially overlooking the support EAPs could also offer around physical and financial wellbeing, wellness and understanding best practice.
Jo Elphick, head of marketing at MetLife UK, said: “EAPs are becoming a standard offering in UK companies but more can be done to maximise their value.”