250279 Underutilization of employee assistance programs: An untapped resource

Monday, October 31, 2011

Aimee Grigsby, MEd , Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Objective: To examine the rates of EAP use and ascertain the reasons for usage and the lack of usage. Background: Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) offer a tremendous service to the workforce when utilized; however, employees do not seek out the resources provided by EAP. From 2007 to 2010 the rate of depression in the workforce has increased from 7% to 9.4%. EAP is able to identify behavioral and other health problems that may affect this depression rate through various counseling services. Over 82% of US companies with 1,000+ employees provide EAP. Methods: Annual data are reported on employed individuals regarding the use of EAP. A cross-sectional view was conducted for the fiscal year 2007/2008 report (N=88). Results: Stress was the number one source of concern for 24% of users, and metal health was the second leading source of concern for 21% of users. The leading source of referral was a family member. The age group that most utilized EAP was 26-35 years of age with 33%. Discussion: 88 of approximately 2,000 employees took advantage of EAP in 2007 with stress and mental health leading as the top concerns. These figures indicate a critical need for mental health services that can be found within EAP; however, the rate of underutilization shows that EAP needs to be more visible and desirable to the workforce. Workplace health promotion practices should strive to incorporate EAP services, strengthen referral sources, reduce stigmas, and seek to determine the true reasons for underutilization.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify potential barriers to the utilization of employee assistance programs.

Keywords: Worksite, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am involved with EAP reporting and analysis and can confidently report the findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.