5 important ways an EAP can help with behavioral health issues

In our nation today, 1 in 5 working age adults lives with a mental health condition.1 More than 20 million Americans age 12 or older have a substance abuse disorder,2 with nearly 2 million dependent on or abusing prescription or illegal opioids.3 And an estimated 16 million Americans suffer from depression.4 These are just a few of the more prominent behavioral health issues that affect the workplace and can cost employers a substantial amount of money in lost productivity and increased health care spending.

With an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place for your employees, those costs can drop considerably. That’s because if employees have access to resources they need to get the help, when they need it, they are less likely to skip work, take time off or cause other problems at work. In short, by giving them a way to get confidential support, they will be happier, healthier, and more productive.

What is a behavioral health issue?

Behavioral health is often mistaken for mental health. However, behavioral health problems include both mental health issues such as depression or anxiety as well as substance abuse and other addictions.

Here are just a few ways that an EAP can help:

  1. Short-term counseling for the employee 
    With a quality EAP, employees can speak to a counselor in-person or over the phone to address any number of issues they may be facing, including depression, anxiety, stress at home or at work, grief or loss, relationship or marital conflict, and addiction issues.
  2. Counseling for the employee’s family 
    Often when one person in the family is suffering, so does the rest of the family. EAP counseling and assistance can help family members cope with a loved one’s addiction, depression, anxiety, or other behavioral health problems. They can also get help for their own challenges.
  3. Treatment information 
    EAPs will typically include a website where employees can learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, addiction, and other behavioral health problems. There may be articles or tools to help them learn how to recognize these issues in themselves, and how their problems can affect family members and other people.
  4. Treatment referrals 
    By speaking to an EAP counselor about their behavioral health issues, employees can take steps to control them and get the treatment they need. If the employee or family member needs treatment, EAP counselors can refer them to a professional who specializes in their particular needs.
  5. Time to get the help they need 
    Sometimes, people who need help put it off because they are too busy with their everyday lives. An EAP can provide assistance for employees by helping find child or elder care, hire movers or home repair contractors, or locate pet care when needed. By taking a little responsibility from these employees, an EAP can give those who need help the time to get it.


1 American Psychiatric Association Foundation, Center for Workplace Mental Health

2 2016 NSDUH REPORT: America’s Behavioral Health Changes & Challenges

3 "Opioid Crisis Fast Facts," www.cnn.com, March 2, 2018

4 American Psychiatric Association Foundation, Center for Workplace Mental Health

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GE-2282927 (10/2018) (Exp. 10/2020)