Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are employer- or group-sponsored programs that are designed to alleviate workplace issues due to mental health, substance abuse, personal problems, and workplace issues.  These programs strive to improve employee productivity and organizational performance. EAPs are also called employee and family assistance programs (EFAPs) or member assistance programs (MAPs). EAPs have become widely adopted by businesses in the last 25 years, as the number of organizations with an EAP has gone from 31% in 1985 to 75% in 2009.

EAPs Provide No-Cost Counseling for Employees and  Their Family Members

About 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. and Canada has symptoms of a mental health disorder,4,5 a substance abuse disorder or both.   Over 75% of the people with these behavioral health disorders are employed.  Sadly, most do not get care for the problem, often due to fears of social stigma, an inability to afford care, or lack of access to a provider. But with an EAP, workers with such issues can talk confidentially (either by phone or office visits) with a licensed mental health professional at no cost and often with little delay. Lately the recession has increased the use of the EAP for assistance with family financial issues.

Referral and Follow-up for Severe Cases

Employees with more serious problems are referred by the EAP to other providers for longer-term mental health treatment, for substance abuse specialty support and/or for psychiatric medications. Many of these “at-risk” individuals are prone to create significant costs if not treated.13 A benefit of being referred from the EAP is that such cases are more likely to continue treatment because of knowing what to expect from the process and from the follow-up support from the EAP.

Each Person is Unique

The real value of EAP is found in each person’s story of why they used the service. Every client has a unique and stressful circumstance that causes him or her to reach out for assistance. Getting support from an EAP counselor usually brings relief and offers practical resources to resolve the problem. And in so doing, it also gives one confidence to do what is needed.

Oakhill Counselling & Mediation Services is available to provide services to you and/or your family at no cost to you.  If you are unsure if your company has an EAP service, complete the intake form or contact your human resource department for more information.


taken from The Employee Assistance Trade Association. For more information, click here.