ERS for Buyers

The Justification for an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Just as work can impact the personal life of an employee, the employee's personal life often affects his/her work performance. In fact, issues such as mental health problems, substance abuse, balancing work family demands, and violence affect almost every workplace.

Mental Health problems

Mental illness can cost billions! The combined indirect and related costs of mental illnesses, including costs of lost productivity, lost earnings, and societal costs, are estimated to total $148 billion (National Institute of Mental Health, 1999).

People diagnosed with depression have nearly twice the annual health care costs of those without depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • In the U.S. an estimated 22% of adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
  • 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. are mental disorders.
  • 9.5% of U.S. adults suffer from a depressive disorder in a given year.
  • 13% or 19.1 million adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder in a given year.

Substance Abuse

Drug-using employees are:

  • 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident.
  • 5 times more likely to file a workers' compensation claim.
  • 2.5 times more likely to have absences of eight or more days.
  • An extensive body of federally funded research shows that with treatment, primary drug use decreases by nearly half. In addition, reported alcohol and drug-related medical visits decline by more than 50%. National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study, SAMHSA, 1999.

Demands of Work & Family

  • One in five working parents has been a part of the sandwich generation during the past year-both raising children and caring for elderly relatives.
  • More than 22 million families provide some kind of unpaid, informal elder care.
  • 64% of caregivers in these families are employed full- or part-time.

Violence in the Workplace

Workplace violence costs U.S. companies an average of $4.3 billion annually.

  • The average incident costs $250,000
  • 39% of employees said that they had been verbally threatened in the past year.
    • 57% of these incidents involved co-workers
    • 17% of these incidents were an employee targeting his/her supervisor.
    • 60% of respondents reported they had not suspected the aggressor had a potential for violence.

Using an EAP to restore an employee to his or her former level of performance not only increases productivity, but also can improve morale and employee loyalty to the company. When properly implemented, EAP's can lead to a reduction in benefits utilization, including sick leave and insurance use.