Mental Wellbeing Series: Let's Talk EAP
4 July 2023
Exploring the importance of creating a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health, this blog supports the Samaritans’ ‘Talk to Us’ campaign. Highlighting the key features of our Employee Assistance Programme, we define ways employers can support their employees’ mental health and wellbeing, boosting resilience, productivity and happiness.
The Samaritans run their ‘Talk to Us’ campaign throughout July in the build-up to Samaritans Awareness Day on 24th July (24/07) to emphasise that their support is available 24/7 for anyone in the UK and Ireland struggling to cope.
The importance of talking
The Samaritans helpline began in 1953 and was initially a service for those at the point of crisis to seek critical support. Today, they offer much more than a listening ear to those at the end of their tether, but the importance of talking remains embedded in the messaging.
The phrase ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ is relevant here because when we reach a point of mental ill-health, it’s challenging to find a way back alone. Thankfully, your employees don’t need to suffer in silence. Businesses can break the stigma, creating a culture where it’s not only OK not to be OK but also OK to talk about it.
Why employers like you are providing support
According to Forbes, 68% of business leaders consider mental health and wellbeing a top priority for 2023.
Our jobs are a dominant part of our lives and require us to be at our best, but as people and employees, we don’t always prioritise our physical or mental health.
“You might think that those working in healthcare would have this [health] front of mind, but on reflection, I recall deprioritising my own self-care ahead of workplace commitments in the months leading to my burnout.” Dr Keith Grimes
If employers want their people to be able to give and be at their best, they must take steps to help boost their resilience. Furthermore, poor mental health leads to increased absenteeism and loss of productivity, negatively impacting your bottom line.
Taking action: the business benefits
Research by The Wellbeing Project found that resilient employees were 42% less likely to plan to leave their current roles.
When retention is the new recruitment, and resilience boosts loyalty, longevity, and job satisfaction, it’s clear why investing in your people yields a measurable return.
Let's talk EAP
There are other factors to consider before discussing how our Employee Assistance Programme provides employees with a safe place to turn when they need to talk.
Culture... breaking the stigma
Creating a culture of confidence goes beyond offering employees the tools they need via employee benefits. It starts with the business leaders, the conversations taking place, and the workplace environment.
“I call upon healthcare leaders to not only communicate about these services but also demonstrate engagement with them by openly addressing their own vulnerabilities and experiences and listening to the response.” Dr Keith Grimes
Employers need to hear and lead to the call to break the stigma by being honest about their own experiences and listening to those of others.
Your people will feel the positive impact, with young professionals reporting that “approachable and supportive” managers have a “positive effect on their mental health” (The Wellbeing Org).
Training your people leaders
When defining core values and creating a culture, ensuring buy-in across the board is essential. This may often involve providing additional training for team leaders and managers.
Our Employee Assistance Programme includes a space specifically for managers, giving them the tools, information and support they need to help their teams. Additionally, we’ve created helpful resources that your people leaders can utilise, including our Burnout Symptoms Test and Burnout Guide.
Understanding your people
Perhaps due to the stigma, statistics show that 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health.
We have to ask whether this statistic reflects whether this reflects that this 40% hasn’t felt the need to talk about their mental health or whether they’ve felt that they’re unable to. Especially when 29% of them say they haven’t spoken about their mental health because of embarrassment.
22% of female employees said mental health support systems are a “must have” employee benefit as opposed to 17% of males.
We mustn’t assume this reflects a trend where men do not prioritise their mental wellbeing. Instead, we must see it as an opportunity to educate them on the importance of supporting their wellbeing. After all, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) found that these gender differences start from a young age and that females ages 18 to 25 have 15% lower levels of self-belief than males in that age group.
Our Employee Assistance Programme
What starts with culture and behaviours is then enhanced and supported by offering the right employee benefits to meet your people’s needs.
So, let’s talk EAP.
Research suggests that only 2% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health with their manager. That’s why proactive and people-minded employers are opening that door for their employees and providing a safe and professional space for them to talk.
Our Employee Assistance Programme gives employees access to BACP-accredited counsellors face-to-face, by phone and email, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and includes an online counselling, live chat facility for those who aren’t comfortable picking up the phone.
It’s also home to essential wellbeing resources designed to help employees help themselves. A ‘My Possible Self’ account is included, making lifestyle-tracking solutions, tailored content and crisis support available at the touch of a button.
Your employees are seeking a meaningful partnership where they feel valued and supported by businesses that want to see them getting more joy from their lives.
Partnering with the right employee benefits provider will help you achieve this. As Pluxee UK, we measure our success by yours. During this blog, we touched upon the importance of listening, and we’re proud to say that in a 2022 survey, 90% of our clients said they trust us to listen and support their needs.
Arrange a call with one of our employee benefit and engagement experts to discover how we can empower your people and boost your business.