Recent Submissions

  • Listening to the Eyes

    VandePol, Bob (2021-01)
    Anyone who delivers Critical Incident Response Services knows about eyes and the stories they tell. We have peeked into a room where those impacted by a tragedy are gathered. Perhaps it was a robbery, the death of a colleague, a catastrophic accident, or the suicide of someone they know. Some eyes are weeping. Others riveted on the floor. A few may be hostile while others rapidly scan every inch of the room. Still others are locked into the “million-mile stare,” seemingly disconnected from anything present.
  • EAP and COVID-19: Impact of COVID Lockdown in Spain & Latin America

    Lardani, Andrea; Sanchez-Escobar, Elena (EAPA, 2021-01)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that employee assistance professionals deal with abrupt changes in the workplace, differences that may include the experiencing and managing of new emotions. What is the psychological impact of a worldwide lockdown on workers? How are they coping with remote work? What do they need from their employers? Are there differences between Spanish and Latin-American responses? Our organizations collected and analyzed 693 questionnaires to answer these very questions. This article will present key results analysis as well as discuss how EAPs are responding to this unprecedented time. One point is clear: EAPs need to show companies that well-being policies are more important than ever.
  • EAP and COVID-19: COVID-19 Changes Needn’t be Negative

    Antonissen, Dirk (EAPA, 2021-01)
    Nearly twenty years ago, former EAPA CEO John Maynard wrote in this magazine: “Employee Assistance is the application of knowledge about behaviour and behavioural health to make accurate assessments, followed by appropriate action to improve the productivity and healthy functioning of the workplace” (Maynard, 2004). Indeed, two decades later, improving the productivity and healthy functioning of the workplace remains a challenge – even more so in light of COVID-19 restrictions in which remote work (telework) has become the new workplace standard. Telework marks a radical change for many employers and employees, and this certainly includes Europe. But change does not have to be negative. Notwithstanding all the troubles that COVID-19 brought to workplaces, many employees seem to appreciate some of the adaptations that came with lockdown and obligatory home and telework.
  • Adaptive Capacity Key EAP Strategies for the New Year

    Gorter, Jeff (EAPA, 2021-01)
    It goes without saying that 2020 was a year like no other. An unprecedented series of chal- lenges included the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, widespread economic distress, catastrophic wildfires, a record-setting hurricane season, and the most divisive election cycle in memory. If it feels like you have been running a marathon, it’s because you have! But employee assistance professionals are no strangers to chaos. Dealing with the unexpected, responding to crisis, and managing the human side of business challenges are core competencies of any top-tier EAP, and EA professionals have answered the call in amazing and creative ways, as always.
  • Video-based Counseling Shifts to the Mainstream

    Milot, Marc (EAPA, 2021-01)
    While video-based counseling (or teletherapy) was already growing in popularity in the last decade, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted these trends into overdrive. Now even more EA professionals provide online services to stay in line with public health guidelines, social distancing measures, or the needs of clients. For employers, employees or purchasers of EAPs, greater reliance on video counseling may lead to questions about its effectiveness and value versus traditional in-person EAP counseling. These concerns, while valid, are generally not supported by the findings of past studies comparing outcomes of video-based to in-person therapy. (More EAP-specific studies are needed.) A number of research-informed practices for video-based counseling may also help EA professionals optimize service delivery for this modality.
  • A Researcher’s Inside Look at the Impact of Employee Assistance Programs

    Milot, Marc (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2020-02)
    Many employers and plan sponsors utilize external employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help address the growing challenge of mental health concerns among employees. While past research had difficulty assessing the direct value of EAPs, new studies indicate that EAPs can help improve psychological health in the workplace and reduce associated costs. The author also covers what to look for when evaluating EAP providers and measuring program returns.
  • EAP and COVID-19: Work Safely Protocol: COVID-19 National Protocol for Employers and Workers

    Government of Ireland (2020-11-20)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every part of Ireland’s society and economy. In the face of this, the biggest challenge we have encountered in decades, the people of Ireland have universally stepped up to the plate and adhered to the strict guidelines put in place by the Government, following the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). We have all contributed to the progress that Ireland has made in containing the spread of COVID-19 and in so doing we have saved lives. However, our continued progress in reducing the spread of the virus remains challenging. We collectively and individually need to continue our efforts to keep the virus under control. The revision of the Return to Work Safely Protocol has become necessary to ensure that it reflects the Government’s Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID- 19 as well as updating the public health advice available since its first publication. This revised document is now called the Work Safely Protocol. It continues to be designed to support employers and workers to put infection prevention and control (IPC) and other measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Work Safely Protocol also covers the measures needed to both ensure the safe operation of workplaces and the re- opening of workplaces following temporary closure due to local and regional restrictions.
  • Aspiring to a Zero Suicide Mindset at Work: Research-based U.S. National Guidelines for Suicide Prevention and Postvention

    Mortali, Maggie G.; Jacobson Frey, Jodi; Spencer-Thomas, Sally (2020-12-14)
    This presentation was presented as part of the 2020 Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) Annual Conference. The presenters represent leaders in the field of workplace suicide prevention and all worked on developing and disseminating the U.S. National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention which are described in this presentation. At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to: 1) list reasons why suicide prevention is a workplace health and safety priority; 2) describe the essential elements of the National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention; and 3) take at least one action step towards building a sustained and comprehensive strategy for their workplace or professional association.
  • Characteristics of working Canadians associated with poor mental health: a cross-sectional study

    Milot, Marc (Workreach Lab, 2020-12)
    This cross-sectional study aimed to identify the characteristics of working Canadians associated with poor mental health. The demographic and occupational characteristics of workers in a representative sample of working Canadians (N=1000) as well as their mental health (anxiety and depression) and help-seeking tendencies (i.e., seeing mental health professionals, accessing employee assistance programs) were assessed via an online survey (October 2019). A prioritization framework identified the characteristics of working Canadians most strongly associated with an increased vulnerability to poor mental health outcomes. Being a younger working Canadian was a consistent and robust predictor of both poorer mental health and a reduced likelihood of seeking help, independent of industry of work, occupation type, gender, province/region of employment, education level, and many other demographics and characteristics. Such findings confirm that this segment of the Canadian working population requires greater attention regarding mental health. Other important predictors of an increased vulnerability to poor mental health outcomes in working Canadians included working in the public sector and in an insecure job. Recommendations for employers based on the study findings are provided to help address psychological health in the workplace and prevent disability.
  • Employee Assistance as a Career: For Students and New Professionals

    Johnson, Cicely; Miller, Leo, LC.PC, CRADC.; Fitzgerald, Paul , Psy.D, CEAP; Cullen-Benson, Scott (2020)
    EAP is not typically covered well in graduate school professional development courses. This session and panel discussion will help students, new graduates, and transitioning/interested mental health/substance abuse professionals learn more about EAP as a line of work and career..
  • Six Tips for Supporting Parents During a Pandemic

    Dyme, Bernard S. (WorldAtWork, 2020-11-18)
    A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that “the three pillars of parenting — economic stability, parental mental health and support for children’s learning — have been shaken.” There were serious breaches in the levels of parental stress and breaks in parent-child interactions. And the results were the same for two very different communities: rural Pennsylvania and the urban Chicago area. With the individual, couple and family stress from parents and kids all working at home, there are several things employers can do to help working parents balance caring for their children, homes, work, relationships, safety, health and more.
  • Curating Your Life: Ending the Struggle for Work-Life Balance

    Golden, Gail, 1952- (2020)
    This webinar is an abbreviated version of Dr. Golden's book "Curating Your Life." In it, she shares what she has learned from coaching many leaders on how to identify and accomplish their most important goals. She discusses not just work-life balance, but how to curate your life through creating a model of managing your energy using "sprint and recovery." She goes on to cover thoughts related to setting boundaries, saying no, deciding what to do, understanding when good enough is good enough, and how to go for greatness.
  • Principles for Addressing Implicit Organizational Trauma

    McNutt, Bryan R. (EAPA, 2019-12)
    Research has revealed that organizations, like individuals, are susceptible to developing chronic stress and becoming affected by truamatic experiences at the institutional level ( Bloom, 2010; Carr, 2001). Many EAPs are challenged in addressing experiences of workplace trauma, which may be diffuse and subtle, existing on a systemic level beyond the individual employee. Collective traumatic reactions may be implicit and unspoken throughout the organization.
  • Navigating December Holidays During COVID - 19

    Concern Marketing Staff (2020-12)
    The holidays may be different this year, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be special. Consider these low risk activities to help make this season memorable in new and creative ways.
  • Supporting Employees Through Trauma: Social Workers in the Workplace & Employee Assistance

    Jacobson Frey, Jodi; Bryant-Nickens, Tanya (2020-11-18)
    This webinar was presented by Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey and Tanya Bryant-Nickens for the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. Both presenters are proud alums of the School and Dr. Frey currently chairs the Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Sub-specialization at the School. Their presentation uses a fireside chat approach to discussing timely and critical topics related to supporting employees through trauma and the role of Employee Assistance, workplace leaders, and other workplace mental health and well-being stakeholders. The presenters address upstream, midstream and downstream approaches to preventing and responding to trauma and provide resources for attendees to learn more. Additional information is presented about the unique sub-specialization offered by the School and how alumni and friends of the program can get involved through supporting students and programming that advance the field and profession.
  • Disenfranchised Grief and Resilience Among Gay Widowers: A Phenomenological Exploration

    McNutt, Bryan R. (2014)
    Due to the continued prevalence of socio-cultural attitudes of sexual prejudice and stigma towards sexual minority relationships, and the continued lack of consistently inclusive legal protections for same-sex couples, bereaved gay widowers face considerable risk of encountering psychosocial features of disenfranchised grief at some point throughout their mourning process. In addition to providing a comprehensive review of previous research related to the bereavement experience of sexual minorities, this study considered the important role of psychological resilience for gay widowers in managing the bereavement recovery process and concurrent experiences of sexual minority stress. A descriptive phenomenological approach was applied through the use of semistructured in-depth interviews with five (5) gay widowers mourning the death of a same-sex partner due to a non-HIV/AIDS related cause. Results identified three primary constituents supporting a healthy trajectory of grief experience among gay widowers, while also providing indicators contributing to enhanced emotional and social resiliency: (1) Validation and Affirmation, (2) Family of Origin Integration, and (3) Positive Self- Regard. Likewise, the opposite constructs of these constituents (devaluation and disregard, family exclusion, and negative self-regard) also serve as likely indicators of increased vulnerability to developing complicated forms of disenfranchised grief, as well as difficulty accessing emotional and social resilience. Thus, the descriptions of these lived experiences provide further understanding of the influence of sexual minority stress upon the bereavement process of gay widowers, while also emphasizing the critical role of social validation and interpersonal recognition in promoting emotional resilience.
  • Digital Solutions for Employee Mental Health: Landscape Overview, Employer Experiences, & Best Practices

    London, Emily (Pacific Business Group on Health, 2020)
    Employers are the largest purchaser of health care services1, yet there is minimal research on employer use of digital solutions. This report summarizes qualitative research on the use of digital tools for mental health (MH). Interviews were conducted in the Summer of 2019 with 10 large employers who represent over 1M employees, and 22 mental health vendors. This report describes: • The mental health crisis • The impact on the workplace • The rise of digital tools for mental health • Does digital work? • Research findings: employer perspectives • Research findings: vendor perspectives • Is digital the future for mental health? • Best practices for employer purchasers. Key Findings A rise in mental health conditions and a lack of access to treatment are top concerns for employers. Benefits teams are interested in digital solutions as a means to increase access and provide multimodal support. Amongst the interviewed group, use of benefits that included a digital component through a smartphone or computer was common. Telemedicine was the most widely used offering; the majority of employers offer employees the opportunity to access video visits with a therapist, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist through their health plan, EAP, a standalone point solution, or an employer-owned on-site clinic. Use of apps that connect users with a coach by text, or provide online, self-guided content were uncommon. Efficacy and return-on-investment of digital offerings was difficult to assess due to low utilization, leading several employers to drop all-digital tools. However, when employees did engage with the tools, reported feedback was positive. Both employers and vendors cited the need for a strategic communications strategy to educate employees and increase adoption of the services. Employers also struggled with evaluating the quality and use case for digital solutions; more work is needed to develop criteria and guidance for benefits managers from trusted sources.
  • Creating a Health Workplace: Impact of Supervisor Support and Company Culture

    Nguyen, Theresa; Reinert, Madeline (Mental Health America, 2020)
    Mental Health America (MHA) conducted a survey with Qualtrics to explore similarities and differences in answers to our Work Health Survey questions across two different populations. MHA’s Mind the Workplace 2019 Report synthesized findings from our 2019 Work Health Survey of nearly 10,000 individuals from 2018 and 2019. The Qualtrics survey was given to 1,000 individuals in 2019. The comparison of findings is summarized in this report. The results of both surveys demonstrate that the factors necessary for creating a mentally healthy workplace are the same in both a help-seeking and non-help-seeking population. Whether people are happy or sad, satisfied or unsatisfied, the elements that makes a company successful in creating mentally healthy workplaces is the same. Our collective findings from both surveys reveal that: • Supervisors matter. Having a supervisor who checks in regularly, is supportive, and who values feedback is a protective factor for a company. Positive supervisor relationships were correlated with the greatest number of positive outcomes including satisfaction with work, employee motivation, employee confidence, pride, and ability to report ethical violations and areas for improvement in the workplace. • Safe and transparent company culture is a protective factor. Creating a culture of safe and open communication provides staff increased opportunity and willingness to provide constructive feedback on improving workplaces. It also is highly correlated to reporting unethical or unfair practices that put a company at risk for legal issues. • Safety and pride impacts perceptions. Feeling comfortable to report dishonest or unfair practices was most correlated with pride. Staff who feel safe in their companies are more willing to recommend their workplace to others and speak positively about their company. • Good company practice fosters good will. Among all employee well-being measures, pride was the most correlated with supervisor communication and a company culture of safe and open communication. • Silence is the most damaging. People who are the most stressed also reported they were in companies where it was safer to remain silent about their personal problems. Across both a help-seeking and non-help-seeking population, an organizational culture of safe and open communication and supervisor support and guidance are important for increasing employee engagement and well-being and creating an overall mentally healthy workplace for all employees. Therefore, it is imperative that supervisors and other company leadership take action to create a culture of communication and support that will benefit not only those employees that may be seeking resources for their mental health, but every employee in the workplace. Doing so will ultimately improve overall operations.

View more