How your employee benefits can help connect you to mental health support
What if you had a convenient way of getting no-cost mental health support any time day or night to help tackle work or relationship stress? Or access to a money coach for tips about digging out of debt?
You may already have access to that help and more in your employee assistance program or what’s commonly called an EAP.
Many companies offer EAPs, but relatively few employees take advantage of them. Oftentimes employees are not aware of the variety of services provided within their EAP. However, more companies are now leaning on EAPs to help expand support for employees and their families.
“EAPs have long been overlooked as many people who are eligible for these benefits don’t realize they have them,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare, Employer & Individual. “EAPs can be a fast way to access financial, legal, or behavioral health support”
For example, some EAPs include the ability for individuals to speak with a behavioral health specialist as many times as needed, around the clock. Not only is support unlimited, and in real time without a long wait, EAP specialists can provide personalized guidance, whether someone is looking for community support and resources or are ready to engage with a therapist.
The tools and resources in a company’s EAP may offer 24/7 help for a wide range of issues, including:
- Managing stress, anxiety and depression
- Improving relationships at home or work
- Getting guidance on legal and financial concerns
- Coping with occupational stress and burnout
- Addressing substance use issues
Here are three more things to know
1. Help can be personalized
EAP support often starts with a no-cost call to a specialist for in-the-moment support. After hearing your specific concern, the specialist can then connect you to services available through your company’s plan.
2. Information is confidential
Today, a majority of EAPs are administered by third parties, but even those still managed by companies observe strict confidentiality standards and ensure privacy.
3. No-cost counseling may be available
Your EAP may include several mental health visits. For example, UnitedHealthcare EAPs offer unlimited emotional support from behavioral health specialists and three no-cost counseling sessions per issue, per year to eligible members.
“Sometimes the hardest part is making the first, in the moment, call,” Dr. Randall said. “An EAP can be that private, confidential starting point. Many people who speak to someone in the moment have such a rich experience that they call back a second and third time to help find solutions to problems they’re facing or seek additional guidance for care.”