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Supporting Employees' Mental Well-being: Integrating an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) into your Company

In today's fast-paced, high-pressure work environment, ensuring the mental well-being of employees has become a top priority for organizations. The relationship between a company and its employees can be described as a closed-loop system in which an individual's well-being and happiness affect their work performance, which affects the company's overall performance. In essence, a company can only thrive if its employees thrive.

Recognizing the need for comprehensive mental health support, more and more companies are turning to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to provide specialized counseling and support to their employees. In this blog post, we will explore what EAPs are, why companies should integrate them, and give guidance on how to successfully implement an EAP.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

An Employee Assistance Program is a confidential, employer-sponsored benefit designed to support employees in dealing with personal or work-related issues that may impact their overall mental well-being; some programs also extend these benefits to members of the employee's household (Frey, 2020). It can cover topics from mental health, finance management, substance abuse, and crisis management. EAPs typically offer a wide range of services, including short-term counseling, family services, crisis intervention, referral services, and wellness programs (UK EAPA, 2019).

Why Should Companies Integrate an EAP?

In Mindshare's “2023 Mental Health at Work Report”, 31% of employees reported that their job or workplace had a negative impact on their mental health. Reasons included "emotionally draining work, work-life balance challenges, lack of recognition," and more (Mindshare Partners, 2023). Therefore, integrating an EAP demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being by providing mental health resources and support networks where employees can get the help they need. In fact, several studies have found that EAPs can contribute to improved emotional well-being and life satisfaction, as well as reduced workplace distress (Attridge, 2019; Dickerson et al., 2012). As mentioned above, the greater the mental well-being of individuals, the greater the productivity and engagement of employees, which can also reduce symptoms associated with burnout by reducing the life stressors that preoccupy their minds. On average, happier workers have been found to be 13% more productive (Bellet et al., 2019).

EAP can also have a positive impact on absenteeism and turnover. Mental health has been found to be one of the main reasons why employees are absent or leave an organization (Bryan et al., 2021; Deloitte, 2022). EAPs can provide employees with access to counseling and other mental health resources to help them manage and cope with mental health issues that may be contributing to their absenteeism. By helping employees address these issues, EAPs can reduce the likelihood that employees will take time off from work due to stress-related concerns. When needed, EAPs can also provide immediate support and resources in times of crisis, helping employees cope with difficult situations, reducing the need for extended absences from work, or, in the worst case, preventing turnover.

EAPs have been proven to result in cost savings for companies. A study by the National Safety Council shows that for every $1 invested in employee mental health support, companies can see a return of $4 due to reduced absenteeism and increased productivity (National Safety Council, 2021). A recent report by the Employee Assistance Professional Association even found that for every £1.00 spent on an EAP in the UK, employers saw an average ROI of £10.85 (UK EAPA, 2023).

Creating a healthy and safe workplace that values both physical and mental health makes companies more attractive to employees these days. The APA's “2022 Work and Well-being Survey” found that 81% of people said that workplaces that support mental health are crucial factors they will consider when looking for a job in the future (APA, 2022). Therefore, companies should consider having an EAP in place as a way to recruit and retain talent.

How to successfully implement an EAP

First, it's important to assess the needs of your employees. One way to do this is to conduct surveys and focus groups to understand the specific mental health needs and concerns of your employees. This can help you identify areas where your existing resources or programs are lacking, determine which ones should be prioritized for implementation first, and tailor the EAP to meet your team's unique needs in the areas of their lives where they really need help.

Once you have identified your employees' EAP needs, you can consider how your company can provide these services. Evaluate your company's available resources to determine if you can manage the program internally or externally through third-party programs. If you decide to outsource your EAP, you may need to do some research to determine what types of external options are within your budget or ask around your networks to find out what types of services they are using.

Another important consideration when implementing an EAP is employee confidentiality and privacy. Ensure that the EAP respects employee privacy and maintains confidentiality throughout the counseling process. Communicate this assurance to employees to encourage use without fear of repercussions.

Once the EAP is in place, it's important to develop a clear and comprehensive communication plan to make employees aware of the EAP's benefits, services and how to access them. You may want to use multiple communication channels, such as in-person meetings, workshops, e-mail, or posters, to maximize reach.

It may also be beneficial to provide awareness training to managers and supervisors on how to recognize signs of mental health problems, how to be sensitive to employees, and how to effectively refer employees to the EAP. This will empower leaders to support their team members and create a culture that destigmatizes mental health.

Finally, it's helpful to regularly assess the effectiveness of the EAP by reviewing utilization rates, asking employees how satisfied they are with the program, and reviewing outcome metrics. This data can help identify areas for improvement and inform any necessary program adjustments.

All in all, integrating an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) into your organization can make a significant contribution to your employees' mental well-being, engagement, and overall satisfaction. By proactively addressing their mental health needs, organizations can create a supportive work environment and foster a culture of well-being. Successful implementation requires consideration of employee needs, confidentiality, effective communication, training for managers, and ongoing evaluation.

Remember, an investment in the mental health of your employees is an investment in the success and growth of your organization.


APA. (2022, July). Workers appreciate and seek mental health support in the workplace.

Attridge, M. (2019). A Global Perspective on Promoting Workplace Mental Health and the Role of Employee Assistance Programs. American Journal of Health Promotion: AJHP, 33(4), 622–629.

Bellet, C., De Neve, J.-E., & Ward, G. (2019). Does Employee Happiness have an Impact on Productivity? (SSRN Scholarly Paper 3470734).

Bryan, M. L., Bryce, A. M., & Roberts, J. (2021). The effect of mental and physical health problems on sickness absence. The European Journal of Health Economics, 22(9), 1519–1533.

Deloitte. (2022, April 1). Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £56 billion a year. Deloitte United Kingdom.

Dickerson, S. J., Murphy, M. W., & Clavelle, P. R. (2012). Work Adjustment and General Level of Functioning Pre- and Post-EAP Counseling. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 27(4), 217–226.

EAPA UK. (2019). EAP Resources. The UK Employee Assistance Programme Association.


Frey, J. J. (2020, October 14). How Employee Assistance Programs Can Help Your Whole Company Address Racism at Work. Harvard Business Review.

Mindshare Partners. (2023, October). Mind Share Partners’ 2023 Mental Health at Work Report. Mindsharepartners.

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