Recent Submissions

  • Peer Coaching: Impacts on Physician Well Being: New Data and Existing Evidence

    Ferron, Liz; Shannon, Diane W. (Vital Work Life, 2021)
    Physicians today are not thriving. Numerous national studies have demonstrated rates of burnout upwards of 50 percent. Suicide rates among physicians are twice that of the general population. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the stress, overwhelm and moral injury many physicians experience as part of their working life. The well being of the physician workforce has profound implications for healthcare organizations. Physicians who report higher levels of burnout are more likely to reduce their work hours and are twice as likely to leave their organization within the subsequent two years. In addition, decreases in productivity and reductions in clinical hours can directly affect patient care revenue from reductions in procedures and referrals. Replacing physicians who have left is expensive, with estimates of $500,000 up to $1 million for recruitment, onboarding and reduced productivity while a new physician gets up to speed. Given there is a projected physician deficit, possibly as high as 86,000 physicians by 2033, attracting new physicians is projected to become more difficult and costly in future years. Maintaining the health and well being of physicians is critical. Full engagement of physicians in meeting the performance goals of the organization is unlikely if they are experiencing emotional exhaustion, depersonalization or other symptoms of stress and burnout. It is impossible if they have left the organization for a more appealing position or have chosen to leave practice entirely. In addition, because physicians are key revenue generators in most healthcare organizations, their ability to engage and work at their full potential has direct financial consequences. Peer coaching is emerging as an effective solution for improving physician well being. This paper will describe the existing evidence base and new data from VITAL WorkLife that demonstrate the impact of peer coaching in supporting physician well being.
  • EAP and COVID-19 2021: Psychological Adaptation after the Epidemic in China: Search for New Meaning and Purpose

    Li, Peizhong (2021-04)
    On March 10th 2021, Employee Assistance and EAPA colleague Peizhong Li shared his insights during EAPA’s Weekly Pandemic conversation on family, community, work, trust, Emotional First Support (EFS), rural ancestral home vs. urbanization/new home, support among strangers, and many challenging realities to COVID-19 acute and post-acute China. He emphasized that various communities need to create a refreshed sense of meaning and purpose for individuals. He believes that the workplaces can play a significant role in this aspect. The following is a summary of Peizhong’s Pandemic Conversation presentation.
  • Best Practices in Working with Law Enforcement

    Herlihy, Patricia A.; Rascati, James N.; Barber, Brad W. (EAPA, 2021-04)
    Employee Assistance Professionals have an unusual opportunity to provide workplace expertise during these unprecedented and stressful times. Law enforcement in particular is one population that is under unusual pressure these days. Law enforcement has always been a challenging and stressful occupation, but there has been an increase in their need for emotional support within the last year. An officer’s stress level impacts not only themselves and their ability to perform on the job, but also their family members and community. In one state where an EAP agency provides services to approximately 56 of the 102 police departments, a significant increase in the demand for EAP services was noted. A majority of these police departments experienced either double or sometimes even quadruple the number of requests for EAP services within the last two years. With this increase in demand for behavioral health services, opportunities arise for EAPs. However, for opportunities and partnerships to be successful, EA professionals need to better understand the subculture of law enforcement in the United States.
  • EAP and COVID-19 2021: Tools 2 Thrive: Outreach Toolkit

    Mental Health America (Mental Health America, 2021)
    During the past year, we at Mental Health America have witnessed an unprecedented increase in the numbers of people experiencing mental health problems. In November 2020, the CDC reported that 44 percent of us were dealing with either depression or anxiety. While historically data shows us that 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental health problem, these days it certainly feels like it’s 5 in 5. Nearly 3 million people have taken an MHA mental health screening during the past twelve months. A million were experiencing depression and hundreds of thousands more were experiencing either anxiety or psychosis. Young people are bearing the brunt of the pandemic, but these mental health impacts cross all generations. But let us not only focus on dark facts. Let’s shine a little light in the darkness .This year’s Mental Health Month toolkit – based once more on the theme of Tools = 2 Thrive (especially during a pandemic) – will help us do just that. Six topics comprise the toolkit – Adapting After Trauma and Stress, Processing Big Changes, Getting Out of Thinking Traps, Radical Acceptance, Taking Time for Yourself, and Dealing with Anger and Frustration. Together, these tools help us develop and employ the resiliency that will take us to brighter days.
  • Mental Health in the Labour Force: A Literature Review and Research GAP Analysis [White Paper & Slides]

    Attridge, Mark; Ricciuti, Joseph; Durant, Gregory; DeBortolli, Karen; Clarkson, Adam; Steacy, Ramona; Ausqui, José (Watson Wyatt Canada ULC, 2007-05)
    Mental health and alcohol abuse disorders are the sleeping giant of health care in modern society. These disorders create immense problems for the individuals with these conditions and for the companies who employ them. There is now a substantial research base that informs this important health challenge. This project was undertaken to synthesize the current research literature from North America in order to take stock of what is known today and to identify gaps in this knowledge. These gaps form the basis for recommendations for future research and for employer action. This project is being advanced by Homewood and the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health on behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Also - findings presnted at the 2nd Canadian Congress on Research and Mental Health and the Workplace, Vancouver, BC, Canada (see SLIDES).
  • EAP and COVID-19: 10 best practices for optimizing mental health care during open enrollment

    Greer, Kathleen; Shjerven, Tom (Arizent, 2020-09-16)
    There is a pivotal moment when an employee or family member realizes that he or she needs help. It is worth the time to think about who may receive the first call for help and how that call can be more welcoming. It’s hard to ask for help and difficult to receive it in systems that can be disjointed. A strong benefit broker or consultant can play an important role in selecting and streamlining resources that make mental health care more accessible. Members of the National Behavioral Consortium have 10 suggestions for brokers and consultants during open enrollment.
  • EAP and COVID-19: How to Support Grieving Employees

    Greer, Kathleen (Arizent, 2020-05-15)
    There is much pain associated with planning a funeral or wake on video. All of the usual rituals around loss and grief are being disrupted by the pandemic. In spite of these losses, there are also some silver linings. For example, more people will have a video of their loved one's service than ever before. Re-visiting remembrances can add to healing, a little bit at time. Also, we have great access to counseling services now that tele-health counseling is so widely available.
  • The Cannabis Conundrum: What are Workers' Rights?

    Greer, Kathleen (Arizent, 2019-08-09)
    The legalization of cannabis across the country presents uncharted territory for many companies. HR departments are tasked with meeting the challenges associated with new laws related to random drug and pre-employment testing, as well as a host of cultural issues. Organizations are also collaborating with EAP providers on what seems to be a moving target. Meanwhile, EAPs themselves struggle to balance the healing potential of medicinal cannabis with its addictive properties and unclear side effects. This article tackles challenging issues that arise in the workplace.
  • The Cannabis Conundrum: Getting Value from your EAP

    Greer, Kathleen (Arizent, 2019-08-16)
    Cannabis has shown to be helpful in well-being and recovery. Millions of people rely on it to help with pain, sleep and other conditions. However, cannabis is an addictive drug, resulting in more than four million diagnoses of cannabis-use disorder. How will workplaces deal with the increase of cannabis use and how can the EAP help?
  • The Business Case for Workplace Critical Incident Stress Response: A Brief Review of the Research Literature.

    Attridge, Mark (Crisis Care Network, 2009-07)
    Critical Incident Stress Response (CISR) services are often included as part of employee assistance programs (EAPs) and thus CISR services are available now to millions of workers. Most employers and researchers today recognize the overall business value or return on investment (ROI) for EAP services. Many employers, however, provide access to CISR services just because it is the “right thing to do.” Nonetheless, in the process of personal recovery, there can also be other outcomes that benefit the organization financially. This paper reviews the research literature on the business value that can be achieved when organizations offer CISR services.
  • A New Research-Driven Approach to Workplace Behavioral Health Services: Does This Present an Opportunity or a Challenge for EAPs?

    Amaral, Thomas M., 1952-; Attridge, Mark (EAP Technology Systems, 2010-04)
    A new research-driven approach is emerging to the delivery of behavioral health services in the workplace. This new approach involves actively targeting those employees, as identified by research, whose personal problems are most likely to negatively impact their work performance. Because this new approach focuses on high-risk/high-cost employees, it has the potential to yield a greater return-on-investment (ROI) to an organization than traditional workplace programs, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs).
  • EAP Impact On Health Care Claims Costs: What Are The Research Findings and What Do They Imply for Today’s EAPs?

    Attridge, Mark; Amaral, Thomas M., 1952- (EAP Technology Systems, 2010-02)
    This brief summarizes a review of the research literature relevant to the following questions regarding the business value of EAPs: Q1: Do EAPs have a significant positive impact on health care claims costs? Q2: If yes, what is the extent and nature of that positive impact? The research investigations addressing these kinds of questions are often described as “cost-offset” studies. In other words, are the costs related to EAP services and associated treatments provided to employees offset, at the very least, by decreases in health care claims costs? Implications for EAP are discussed.
  • The Impact of Behavioral Screening and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) -like Interventions on Health Outcomes and Estimated Expenditures in a Community Healthcare Clinic Setting and an Employment Setting

    Attridge, Mark; Dickens, Steve (Invest Centers for Employee Wellbeing, 2015-12)
    There is considerable evidence that employee assistance programs (EAPs) mitigate stress levels associated with common life struggles, which if unaddressed, may lead to chronic stress and disease (Attridge, 2012). There is also good evidence that Behavioral Screening and Intervention (BSI) programs, that screen and treat individuals for depression, substance use, and smoking improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare expenditures (Babor, McRee, Kassebaum Grimaldi, Ahmed, & Bray, 2007; Bray, Zarkin, Davis, Mitra, Higgins-Biddle, & Babor, 2007; Saitz, Saitz, Larson, LaBelle, Richardson, & Samet, 2008). We hypothesized that a hybrid model that combined EAP services with BSI would produce substantial positive health outcomes and reduce healthcare cost expenditures. We further hypothesized that such an approach would work equally well with patients in a community health center and employees at a workplace. The goal of this project was to demonstrate that these efforts could be carried out successfully in both settings and to either confirm or refute the hypothesis that such interventions would improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare expenditures. The results of our research confirmed both hypotheses. Our short-term interventions resulted in profound improvements in multiple health outcome indicators, and these improvements were sustained over time. These outcomes were achieved in both settings. Outcomes included significant reductions in depression, smoking behavior, alcohol use, drug use and increased exercise and report of overall wellbeing. As we demonstrate in this report, the improvements in health outcomes observed, coupled with studies that clearly link and quantify the relationship between such improvements and reduced healthcare costs, enable us to project specific healthcare cost savings that will result from these interventions.
  • The 5th US/Canada Forum on Mental Health and Productivity: Reference Report of Presentations and Proceedings

    Attridge, Mark; Lackey, Helen; McIntyre, Roger S.; Ricciuti, Joseph; Wilkerson, Bill, 1942- (Mental Health International, 2014-01)
    This report provides detailedi nformation on the content of the 5th US/Canada Forum on Mental Health and Productivity in 2013. The full-text of each of the presentations delivered at the Forum is included here in this report as edited transcripts based on the audio recording of the event. Other content is presented concerning the key themes from the discussion that occurred during the meeting and select ideas captured in the comments and interviews obtained after the meeting from the panel of experts. Other related source material from the Forum is also provided in the appendices to this report.
  • Introduction to the International Employee Assistance Digital Archive: A Knowledge Hub

    Jacobson Frey, Jodi; Herlihy, Patricia A. (2021-03-18)
    Dr. Jodi Frey and Dr. Patricia Herlihy, Co-Founders of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work, International Employee Assistance Digital Archive offered this presentation for the Connecticut (CT) EAPA Chapter. This overview of the EA Archive provided attendees with information to understand the need for an international digital archive for the EA field, information about important historical documents and current research and other timely documents and webinars housed in the EA Archive, and ways in which attendees can get involved with the EA Archive to support the future of the field through submissions, use of the Archive and promotion. The presenters gave attendees a first-hand look inside the EA Archive and various ways to search and review content.
  • Measuring Outcomes of Peer Recovery Support Services: A Literature Review

    Wheeler, Jason; Mathews, Jenna Lee; Murray, Amber; Matlin, Kate (2020-07)
    The literature on outcomes and effectiveness of peer recovery support services in mental health and substance use disorder systems is nascent but growing. There is a greater body of research about peers in the field of mental health than in substance use. Generally, there is a lack of uniformity in the definitions of peers in the literature (O'Hagan, Cyr, McKee & Priest, 2010). There is also high variability and ambiguity about the roles that peers play and the scope of services they provide (Rogers, Kash-MacDonald & Brucker, 2009). Furthermore, measuring recovery tends to include such a wide variety of outcomes (e.g., symptom abstinence, sense of well-being, quality of life, social engagement, evidence of employment or enrollment in education, level of justice-system involvement, etc.) that there is lack of consensus among recovery scholars, administrators, and practitioners about what outcomes are the most salient to measuring both recovery and the efficacy of peers in supporting recovery efforts (Blash, Chan & Chapman, 2015). Despite the variance in definition and conceptualization, research supports the efficacy of peers across roles, settings, and implementations. This review aims to take the next step of identifying a cohesive and appropriate set of recovery outcomes that will broaden and solidify the promising base of literature. This literature review begins by situating the peer role into the context of recovery from mental health and substance use disorders by briefly describing the history of the advancement of peers in recovery fields. This context is followed by a more in-depth look at (1) how peers are defined by the literature, (2) the specifics of their role and fundamentals underlying their practice, and (3) considerations regarding the standardization of peers. The review then outlines common recovery outcomes typically measured for consumers with mental health or substance use disorders who receive peer recovery support services. The outcomes reviewed were categorized into two overarching domains. The review also briefly describes considerations for families and peers who deliver services, and stigma regarding disorders. Finally, recommendations of instruments used to measure recovery outcomes are provided.
  • Successful Employer Implementation of the Federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

    Attridge, Mark (Partnership for Workplace Mental Health/American Psychiatric Association Foundation, 2009-12)
    This brief is designed to help employers with the implementation of the new mental health and substance use disorder parity federal law provisions. The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires employers that offer mental health/addiction coverage to do so at parity to their offering of medical/surgical health care benefits. Review of actuarial and retrospective research studies on parity’s impact on costs. Three key employer action steps for successful implementation. Characteristics of employers with positive parity experiences.
  • Employee Personal Financial Distress and How Employers Can Help

    Attridge, Mark (Partnership for Workplace Mental Health/American Psychiatric Association Foundation, 2009-02)
    It is widely recognized that more and more workers in the U.S. are experiencing financial difficulties. It is important for employers to understand and respond to these kinds of problems facing their workers. This research brief summarizes why and how.
  • Employee Work Engagement: Best Practices for Employers - The Issue and Why it is Important to Business

    Attridge, Mark (Partnership for Workplace Mental Health/American Psychiatric Association Foundation, 2009-06)
    Literature review of employee work engagement and recommendations for best practices for employers. Only one in every five workers is highly engaged in their work. Increased employee engagement in work results in better employee productivity and loyalty. Companies with high employee engagement outperform low engagement companies in many areas of business success. Engagement can be improved by using more positive supervisory communication styles, offering workplace mental health services to employees, and by larger organizational-level changes. The experiences of AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah, Molson Coors, and Pitney Bowes provide relevant employer case examples.
  • Worksite Interventions Reduce Stress Among Teachers and Staff: 2-Group Longitudinal Test of EAP Onsite Trainings

    Lapp, Joni; Attridge, Mark (Springer Press, 2000-07)
    This brief report describes an original applied research study testing the impact of onsite employee training provided by an employee assistance program for teachers. Self-reported data on employee stress levels was collected at three points during the school year at two schools: one school (n = 105 at T1; 60 at T2; and 40 at T3) that received the interventions from EAP (four training programs) and another school in same area that was a control site (n = 103 at T1; 56 at T2; and 42 at T3). At baseline, the finding revealed that the majority of teachers were stressed, with more than a third experiencing a high level of stress. The program featured multiple interventions that were of short duration and that focused largely on an individual employee’s ability to understand and cope with stress factors. The delivery of multiple, brief, educational interventions had a small but positive impact on reducing stress.

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