Mental health support and more — in employee assistance programs

What if you had a convenient way of getting no-cost mental health support about a relationship that’s causing stress? Or access to a money coach for tips about digging out of debt?

You may already have that help and more in your employee assistance program or what’s commonly called an EAP.

Many companies offer EAPs, but relatively few employees take advantage of them. Often that’s because employees don't know they exist. However, that may be changing following the pandemic, as companies are leaning on EAPs to help expand support for employees and their families.

“EAPs have long been overlooked by many people who are eligible for these benefits,” said Stacie Grassmuck, Director of Behavioral Health Product and Innovation at UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. “EAPs can be a simple way to access help.”

Tools and resources in a company’s EAP may offer 24/7 help for a wide range of issues, including:

  - Managing stress, anxiety and depression
  - Improving relationships at home or work
  - Guidance on legal and financial concerns
  - Coping with occupational stress and burnout
  - Addressing substance use issues
 

Here are three more things to know about employee assistance programs:

  • Help can be personalized EAP support often starts with a no-cost call to a specialist. After hearing your specific concern, the specialist can then connect you to services available through your company’s plan.
  • Information is confidential Today, a majority of EAPs are administered by third parties, but even those still managed by companies observe strict confidentiality standards and ensure privacy.
  • No-cost counseling may be available – Your EAP may include several mental health visits. For example, UnitedHealthcare EAPs offer three no-cost counseling sessions per issue, per year to eligible members.

“Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to begin with an issue, especially if you don’t want friends or family to know,” Stacie said. “An EAP can be that private starting point and an easy way to find out what resources may be available for finding a solution to your problem.”

For more information, visit uhc.com.