Workplace mental health improved by counselling

70% of EAP users needed help with mental health problems last year

Of the 70% of employees with mental health problems last year, 92% of them reported that their condition improved as a result,  data has revealed.

Employee benefits provider Unum’s first ever publication of its user records also indicated that of the 12,610 callers to its EAP service in the space of a year, 60% of the 70% encountering mental health problems were offered counselling and 97% were offered an initial appointment within five days.

A total of 17,335 counselling sessions were provided between 1 December 2016 and 30 November 2017.

Better support

“We took the decision to analyse and release these figures to increase awareness of the invaluable support that’s available to hundreds of thousands of UK workers,” said Ambika Fraser, head of propositions at Unum. “We’re committed to reducing the stigma around mental health concerns and hope the high success rates will encourage more to seek help when they need it.”

Of the mental health sufferers who called, anxiety and depression were the most common reason (66%), followed by problems caused by relationship issues (13%) then bereavement (9%).

“EAPs are a first line of defence for employers and line managers in protecting the wellbeing of their staff,” said Fraser. “They provide fast, confidential solutions to all kinds of problems from mental health to debt and relationship worries that could otherwise quickly escalate and impact productivity.”

Social service

Of the 12,610 calls, more than fifth of people (22%) wanted help with a problem serious enough to affect their performance at work, while 14% of users wanted help with legal problems and another 14% sought support for practical problems such as caring responsibilities. Of the users, 58% were women.

“We live in an interconnected world where well-being is mental, physical and financial. You can’t address one without supporting all,” added Fraser. “With one in four people in the UK suffering from a mental health issue this year, it’s now more important than ever to support employees total well-being.

Enhanced engagement

As well as via phone, online support was accessed 74,607 times by employees downloading information on issues such as mental health issues, money and relationships.

The findings come after the government’s recent independent review of mental health which recommended that all employers with more than 500 employees should provide tailored mental health support, including through EAPs.

About the Author