11 min read
Everything You Need to Know About EAP Mental Health Resources
By: Staff Aug 30, 2021 7:59:59 PM
Now that the stigma around mental health and drug addiction is being taken down and broken, there's no better time than now to double down on mental health resources for your employees. More often than not, employees struggling with their mental health and addictions are suffering silently and slacking in their work performance as a result.
The solution? Taking in everything you need to know about EAP mental health resources to ensure you're offering nothing but the best support and solutions for your employees.
We will cover everything you need to know about EAP mental health resources, including:
- How to Implement Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace
- The Correlation of Substance Abuse, Remote Working, and Mental Health
- 5 Mental Health Tips for the Workplace
- Signs of Poor Mental Health at Work: How to Help Your Coworkers
- What Is the Employer's Responsibility in Mental Health?
- Workplace Mental Health Resources Post-COVID
How to Implement Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace
Between the pandemic and the resulting cultural and economic turbulence, there has been a significant amount of tension and mental strain on workers looking for more stability in their mental health. To combat the rise in addictions, stress, anxiety, isolation, and mental fatigue, here are five ways you can provide your employees with the support they need to reach the stability they desire:
- Exemplify top-down leadership and compassion — the most important thing your leadership team can do for employees who may be struggling with mental health is to actively promote and normalize the use of mental health resources. Just having the resources available can be counterproductive in encouraging employees to take advantage of the added support and guidance they need to overcome their challenges. Instead, discuss mental health resources in meetings and make mental health policies and resources easier to find.
- Make mental health self-assessment tools available to all employees — it's common for workers to ignore or downplay signs of anxiety or stress. To combat these responses, having a significant amount of information available to employees about your company's EAP program can make all the difference.
- Implement developmental health policies — there's a good chance that your mental health policies are outdated or nonexistent. If this is the case, you must ensure that your policies are updated with anti-discrimination policies, information about your company's processes or initiatives for destigmatizing mental health disorders, and communication policies that guide announcements and internal discussions about mental health.
- Let employees make decisions — giving your employees more independence and flexibility will allow them to work through their mental health issues and personal commitments appropriately. This is especially important as more people work from home or hybrid.
- Improve your benefits — the impact of the pandemic on businesses has been unimaginable, but there's no doubting the benefits of having better health care plans and more mental health resources available to your employees. It will allow production to continue at a better pace since more employees are mentally and physically healthy.
The Correlation of Substance Abuse, Remote Working, and Mental Health
Although your employees’ struggles with mental health and well-being are being talked about more today than ever before, the struggle has been a long-standing concern for decades.
However, the recent push for remote working — which has isolated many employees who looked to each other for mental support — has had a significant impact on mental health and substance abuse stability.
Here's how substance abuse, remote working, and mental health are all correlated:
- Remote working and mental health — according to Statista, 35% of the remote-working employees surveyed had a challenge collaborating with their colleagues and clients and also suffered from loneliness. It also found that 29% of the respondents lacked motivation when working from home.
- The hidden implications on drug abuse — according to William Stoops, a professor of behavioral science, "People are more stressed and isolated, so they make unhealthy decisions, including drinking more and taking drugs."
- Substance abuse and mental health — the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found several cases where people with drug/alcohol abuse disorders are also diagnosed with mental health disorders and vice versa.
Are you aware of how each of these could build on each other and continue to impact your employees? The key to combating these challenges is to ensure that employees can get the support they need regardless of their work environment.
5 Mental Health Tips for the Workplace
It's no easy task helping manage employees and supporting their well-being. Still, when done correctly, you will see increased productivity, employee happiness, overall well-being, and satisfaction with the company. To maintain a healthy work environment, it is crucial that the workplace remains a place of support for the employees who need it.
To help keep your employees happy and healthy, consider the following five tips for improving mental health in the workplace:
- Offer Mental Health Days — with uncertainty and the added economic stress, employees have been more reluctant than ever before to take time off of work to take care of their mental health. This is especially true for workers who are afraid of losing their job security for doing so. In addition to the traditional PTO your employees are used to, we suggest additional personal and health days that don't need to be approved through the usual process to help with these stresses.
- Promote Confidentiality — It is the job of the CHRO to ensure that employees are in a work environment that supports mental health and well-being. This includes promoting an environment where anonymity and confidentiality are valued traits for workers looking for support without the added attention from other workers.
- Recognize Employee Burnout — believe it or not, burnout should be treated like the real concern it is because it causes an immense amount of stress and exhaustion that disrupts productivity in the workplace. More often than not, burnout is the cause for many employees struggling to keep up with performance expectations. This makes identifying and resolving burnout an essential part of keeping a healthy work environment.
- Over-Communicate Support — mental health and well-being have been a stigma in the workplace for a very long time. The best way to tear down the stigma and genuinely help your workers overcome their mental health and addiction struggles is to over-communicate your support and resources available.
- Offer Mental Health EAP Assistance — despite how beneficial employee assistance programs (EAPs) are for the workforce, many companies have yet to implement them into their benefits packages. It is not only important for your employees to have access to this much-needed support and resources but arguably more important that you make sure everyone knows about them. After all, you could have the best support available, but if your employees don't know it exists, it will go wasted.
Signs of Poor Mental Health at Work: How to Help Your Coworkers
One of the best things you can do for your coworkers is lookout for signs of mental health decline at work, so they can get them quickly and appropriately resolved before they become a bigger problem.
In many cases, employees aren't aware that they are going down an unhealthy path that can lead to more stress and anxiety or a lapse in their addiction recovery. It is up to supportive coworkers to help them when they need it most. After all, workers spend more of their time at work than they do at home.
Some signs of poor mental health at work can include:
- Performance indicators (not producing at their usual level)
- Lack of focus
- Social Withdrawal
- Substance abuse
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help. B available to discuss the changes in mental health with your coworkers, hold yourself accountable for your own struggles and stresses, and seek the support that your coworker refuses to take advantage of.
The truth is, everyone wants to believe mental health wellbeing and substance abuse aren't a problem in their workplace, but studies show that it's alive and active in most (if not all) work environments that don't have the necessary support and resources available.
What Is the Employer's Responsibility in Mental Health?
Speaking of coworker and leadership responsibility, employers have a certain amount of responsibility when it comes to mental health in the workplace, as well. After all, it takes the whole team to keep each other safe, healthy, and happy.
This responsibility begins with a thorough understanding of what the Americans with Disabilities Ascot of 1990 (ADA) is and entails. It continues with some proper tactics for painting a strong mental health work environment.
First and foremost, the ADA civil rights law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of their public life, including schools, jobs, transportation, and all public and private places open to the public. This ensures that everyone has the same rights and opportunities in the workplace, including mental health impairments.
Here are just a few things employers can do to make sure they're helping their employees' mental health to the best of their ability:
- Collaborative decision-making — this consists of checking in with all of your employees and listening to their input and what they have to offer to decision-making processes. This will make everyone feel included, appreciated, and valued by employers for making them an essential part of big decisions.
- Work-life integration — integrating your work life into your personal life ensures that employees are making the most of their lives in general. After all, your work life is still a part of your life. What this means is, it may be more beneficial to get rid of the traditional 9-to-5 grind and replace it with more flexible working times (within reason, of course).
- Personality assessments — the better you know your employees, the better positioned you will be as an employer to help them in their mental health struggles. For instance, knowing that two or more employees are similar in personalities and most likely to work well together will ensure coworkers that are best fit to work as a team are matched up together, ultimately bringing them more joy in the work they complete.
- Training and development opportunities — investing in your employees can make a significant difference in how they see work and their future. Knowing the company is willing to invest in their time and training assures employees that they are worth a lot to the business, inherently bettering their mental health and association with work.
Workplace Mental Health Resources in the COVID Landscape
It can be a challenge keeping up with the right resources and support needed to keep your employees happy and healthy (mentally and physically), but it is arguably the most important thing you can do for your business.
In fact, Stephen Etkind, a consultant with First Stop Health and a psychologist in private practice in Massachusetts, explained, "Now more than ever, companies need to provide employees with access to convenient, quality, and affordable mental health care to ensure workers are safe, healthy, happy, and productive."
"These are stressful times. Half of Americans say their mental health has been affected by the pandemic,” he added. “When you add racial injustices and a recession into the equation, a mental health crisis is imminent."
What can you do to help? Remember these things as we continue through the COVID pandemic.
- People are good at hiding things: everybody at your work may seem fine on the outside, making you think you don't need mental health resources. But the truth is, people are good at hiding their mental health struggles and may be intimidated by the thought of asking for help. If that help and support were already available to them, they wouldn't need to ask for it... They could just take advantage when needed.
- In-person work can cause anxiety: most people are undoubtedly ready to come back to work and get back into the 'normal' groove of things, but it's also important to consider the employees who got comfortable working from home and are likely getting stress or anxiety over having to go back to in-person work.
- We all need support: one of the most important — and quite truthfully easiest — things we can do for mental health is destigmatize the idea that mental health shouldn't be discussed in the workplace. Everyone deserves support and should never feel like work comes before their mental and physical health. Show your support by offering EAP solutions and communicating your own struggles with mental health.
Find the Right EAP Program With Employee Recovery
It's no secret that mental health has been an ongoing challenge for most of the workforce for decades, most notably after the COVID-19 pandemic when many employees were sent home for a significant amount of time.
The first step to overcoming these challenges is to learn as much as you can about mental health and the importance of having the support and solutions needed for your employees available at all times. Now that you've done that, meet with our team of experts at Employee Recovery to find the right EAP program for you and your employees.