• The Business of Mental Health

      Greer, Kathleen; Quick, John (Arizent, 2021-04-26)
      When the pandemic hit, the need for mental health care increased, just at a time when the system was not functioning well. A shortage of licensed providers along increasing need caused a floundering industry to become vulnerable to disruption. The increase in demand was partly due to the pandemic, but also caused but further acceptance of mental health care, the opioid crisis, and the growing acceptance of tele-health and CBT solutions. As these digital disruptors entered the field, they took aim at EAPs and caused many companies to re-evaluate what they had to offer employees and family members.
    • Construction industry series: The Human and Financial Costs of Behavioral Health in Construction

      Beyer, Cal; Spoor, Leia (Matrix Group Publishing, 2021)
      Prior articles in this series have explained the construction industry’s challenges with mental health, substance misuse, and suicide risk before and during the pandemic. These factors are an “invisible crisis in construction.” These issues were problematic in construction before COVID- 19 but the pandemic has worsened the mental health stress and financial pressures among workers which, in turn, has increased behavioral health risks among the workforce and their families. Similarly, behavioral health challenges pose risk to all construction stakeholders. There are some telltale warning signs, including the rising risk of near hits and/or serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) on jobsites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019 the construction industry experienced 1,066 workplace fatalities, the highest number since 2007. Moreover, among all industries, unintentional overdoses due to nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol increased for the seventh consecutive year.
    • Counteracting Cyberbullying in the Workplace

      EAPA - South Africa (2021-02-05)
      The standard definition of bullying is, “repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards an employee or a group of employees that creates a risk to their health and safety”. The uncertainty and constant change brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has already led to the increased risk of the psychosocial drivers that can result in bullying – and particularly cyberbullying. Examples of cyberbullying might include frequent interruptions or ‘talking over’ a colleague during virtual meetings, unkind emails or repeated and excessive emails from managers.
    • Drinking More to Cope During COVID

      Hedblom, Lawrence (2021-09)
      It’s useful to realize that drinking is an integral part of our culture. In normal circumstances, about 70% of adults will report drinking alcohol in the past year and 55% in the past month, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health in 2019. Further, about 25% report binge drinking in the last month which is defined as four or more drinks in a two-hour period for women and five or more for men. And drinking comes with a high health cost. "An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol- related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States," according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Increased drinking during Covid has been reported in different studies. A Kaiser Family Foundation study reports a 13% increase for all adults (and 25% among younger adults). Two other surveys -- one conducted by the American Psychological Association and another by Blue Cross Blue Shield -- found that almost 25% of adults reported drinking more to manage pandemic stress. According to the NIH, reasons for drinking more included increased stress (46%), increased alcohol availability (34%), and boredom (30%). Participants who reported being stressed by the pandemic consumed more drinks over a greater number of days.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • EAP and COVID-19 2021: Trends in Workplace Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Vendors of EAP Services

      Attridge, Mark (2021-09-22)
      Presentation of research literature review and 2021 survey study of employee assistance program industry on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on business, program use, traditional and technology-based service delivery options, and outcomes after service use. Discussion of future challenges and opportunities for EAPs who support employers.
    • EAP and COVID-19, 2021: The New Psychology of Pandemics: COVID-19 and Beyond

      Taylor, Steven, Ph.D. (2021-03-02)
      The National Behavioral Consortium (NBC) hosted a presentation on March 2, 2021 by author Dr. Steven Taylor on the New Psychology of Pandemics: COVID-19 and Beyond. In October 2019, a few weeks before the outbreak of COVID-19, Dr. Taylor published a book titled “The psychology of pandemics: Preparing for the next global outbreak of infectious disease” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). At the time, no previous book had brought together, in an integrated fashion, findings from diverse fields in psychology and related disciplines to understand the vital role played by psychology in pandemics. In fact, at the time few people other than a small group of experts understood the importance of psychological factors in the spreading versus containment of pandemic-related disease, distress, and social disruption. During COVID-19 there has been an explosive growth of research into the psychology of pandemics, including work conducted by Dr. Taylor’s research group. The total amount of psychological research conducted throughout the world during the first year of COVID-19 has exceeded the volume of research published for all previous pandemics and related outbreaks. A great deal of new knowledge has accrued, leading to many important advances in understanding and managing disease, distress, and social disruption. Once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, we will have to adapt to life in a “post COVID” world, and there will be new pandemics on the horizon. For various reasons, pandemics and other disease outbreaks will become more prevalent in the coming years. We no longer have the luxury of forgetting the past. This presentation describes the new psychology of pandemics. Findings concerning COVID-19 are placed in context by comparing them to information from past pandemics. The presentation reviews the current state of knowledge of the various forms of pandemic-related psychological phenomena and how they might be addressed at an individual and a societal level. We need to address the growing “pandemic fatigue” that is emerging, prepare for a post-COVID world, and prepare for the next pandemic. (Excerpted from NBC Meeting Brochure)
    • 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: Empathy: A Business Imperative

      Greer, Kathleen; Kohl, Bryan (2021-01-27)
      Empathy is something organizations have been talking about for decades. As a result, some can truly characterize their culture as one grounded in empathy, while others, perhaps not as much. Suffice it to say, the pandemic has forced organizations to reflect on their workforces — to better understand their employees’ myriad of needs, expectations and overall wellbeing.
    • EAP and COVID-19: Grief in the Time of a Pandemic: One Therapist’s Perspective

      Rabinowitz, Ronne (EAPA, 2020-07)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the experience of grief and will have long- lasting consequences. As of May 27, over 100,000 Americans have died from this virus in a period of less than five months. Sadly, there will be many more deaths in the future by the time this article is published. “Normal” grief is difficult enough for the bereaved, but as EA providers and clinicians we need to remind ourselves that grief and loss during a pandemic is more complicated: How do we help employees come to terms with death when the usual coping rituals of grief and loss are no longer available? In my practice as a psychotherapist, hospice social worker, and EA consultant for almost 30 years, I have sat by patients’ bedsides as their families came to terms with the inevitable. But grief and loss dur- ing this pandemic are like no other time we have ever experienced.
    • EAP and COVID-19: How Top-Tier EAPs Can Facilitate the Post-Pandemic Return to Work

      Derr, W. Dennis; Dyme, Bernard S.; Greer, Kathleen (Arizent, 2020-06-15)
      This article describes the need for a top-tier EAP to serve an employee population that is returning to work after a pandemic. Managers and leaders may need coaching on how to facilitate this transition. EAPs are experienced in providing this coaching while offering counseling and support to individual employees and their families. Full-service EAPs are more important than ever during the difficult times we are facing. Organizations need EAPs that can provide digital solutions with a personal touch and can help guide employees to their other benefits and services.
    • EAP and COVID-19: The Psychology of Pandemics

      Taylor, Steven, Ph.D. (2020-05-11)
      The National Behavior Consortium hosts a presentation by author Steven Taylor on The Psychology of Pandemics: On May 11, 2020, the National Behavioral Consortium (NBC) hosted a presentation by Dr. Steven Taylor, author of The Psychology of Pandemics. This book explores the psychological factors that influence the spread of pandemic infections, as well as the associated emotional distress and social disruption of such events. It reveals how psychological factors are important for understanding and managing societal problems associated with pandemics, such as the spreading of excessive fear, stigmatization, and xenophobia that occur when people are threatened with infection. This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the psychology of pandemics, and describes the psychological reactions to pandemics, including maladaptive behaviors, emotions, and defensive reactions. As well, it reviews the psychological vulnerabilities that contribute to the spreading of disease and distress and considers empirically supported methods for addressing these problems, outlining the implications for public health planning. The book was published in late 2019. Dr. Taylor is a Professor and Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vancouver, Canada.
    • EAP and COVID-19: Why HR Leaders Need to Cultivate Their Adaptive Capacity

      Gorter, Jeff (2020-09-11)
      It goes without saying that HR professionals are no strangers to change. Dealing with the unexpected, responding to crises, and managing the human side of business fluctuations are central to any HR leader’s role in a company. But 2020 has brought an unprecedented series of challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic to civil unrest to widespread economic distress. Addressing the HR needs of your organization in the midst of a fluid and rapidly evolving dynamic requires rapid reassessment and frequent course corrections on almost a daily basis. It requires adaptive capacity. What Is Adaptive Capacity?
    • 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.