Reasons for Using an EAP

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Why should an employer establish an EAP if the employer already provides its employees with mental health and substance abuse insurance benefits?

  1. Without an EAP, the employer can never realize the cost savings that only an EAP can provide.
  2. Without an EAP, the employer is missing out on a valuable productivity tool, which can be used to manage, and often salvage, troubled employees.
  3. Without an EAP, supervisors (most likely) do not receive ongoing training in how to identify troubled employees and refer them for evaluation or treatment.
  4. An EAP offers free and unlimited consultation for all supervisors, regarding how to manage employees who are exhibiting performance problems at work. The EAP reduces stress associated with tough supervision problems.
  5. With an EAP, employees are much more likely to seek out help for their personal problems, for a variety of reasons:
    • Employees receive ongoing training on what types of personal issues can be addressed through the EAP, and how to use the services. They also receive ongoing promotional materials, which remind them of the help that is available, should they ever need it.
    • Over time employees come to know the EAP staff, and develop trust in the credibility and expertise of the EAP. They are much more likely to seek assistance from someone they know and trust, rather than from a random member of a provider panel.
    • There is no cost for employees to use the EAP, whereas accessing insurance benefits usually requires a co-payment or satisfaction of a deductible.
    • Use of the EAP is simple and straightforward, and requires no preauthorization or referral from a primary care physician. All it takes is a phone call to set up an appointment or seek information.
    • Using the EAP assures a much greater degree of confidentiality, compared to accessing insurance benefits.
    • EAPs can help create a positive organizational culture, in which the value of 'seeking help' is normalized and encouraged, rather than stigmatized.
  6. Without an EAP, employers are 'on their own,' when it comes to training their workforce on issues such as Preventing Sexual Harassment, Stress Management, Effective Communication, etc. EAPs can, at no additional charge, provide training programs such as these and others, on a variety of wellness-related issues.
  7. An EAP is a natural and effective complement to other cost-saving programs, such as Drug-free workplace, Preventing Workplace Violence, etc. The EAP can take an active role in helping develop and implement policies and programs to address these and other issues.
  8. Insurance benefits for mental health and substance abuse treatment only allow payment when a diagnosed mental disorder exists - and even then, it can be difficult or impossible to secure the necessary authorization for adequate treatment. However, many productivity problems at work are caused by personal problems that are not diagnosable mental conditions. These include:
    • marriage and relationship problems
    • parenting issues
    • family conflicts
    • stress
    • legal and financial difficulties
    • grief
    • anger
    • many other issues
  9. EAPs represent the best in 'one-stop shopping.' Since EAPs specialize in assessment, short-term counseling, and referral, they are experts at knowing the best, most cost-effective resources within the local community. And their 'broadbrush' approach means they can get employees plugged into the right kind of help for a great variety of problems and issues.
  10. By offering an EAP, an employer communicates to its employees that they are valued members of the workforce, and it helps establish itself as a caring, pro-employee organization. It fosters greater morale and loyalty among its workers.