Global Employee Assistance Programs: Going Beyond EAP for Mental Health

Over 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. As employers look to innovate upon EAP programs and services, they are beginning to develop holistic mental health strategies and approaches to promote employee well-being.

January 09, 2020

As companies become increasingly global, employers are searching for ways to improve the health and productivity of their employees around the world by implementing employee assistance programs (EAPs) globally.

Global Trends

global mental health trends 
Figure 1: Global Mental Health Trends
Mental Health Disorders as a Percent of Total Health Burden for Working Age Population (ages 15-49) 
Figure 2: Mental Health Disorders as a Percent of Total Health Burden for Working Age Population (ages 15-49)
Psychiatrists and Psychologists Per 100,000 People 
Figure 3: Psychiatrists and Psychologists Per 100,000 People

Mental Health and Well-Being: A Country Snapshot

Mental Health and Well-Being: A Country Snapshot 
Figure 4: Mental Health and Well-Being: A Country Snapshot

Global Institute Member Insights

In a May 2017 survey of 52 members, 100% indicated that they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).2

  • 60% identified that mental/behavioral health is a top company priority and stress as a top employee risk.3
  • Members stated their top presenting issues for expatriates and local hires, they include:
    • Personal stress or anxiety;
    • Marital or partner/relationship issues; and
    • Workplace stress or anxiety.2

Global Institute Members’ Efforts Focus on Well-being Pillars

 

Argentina

Brazil

China

India

Mexico

Poland

S. Korea

Emotional Health

68%

68%

64%

74%

65%

55%

47%

Financial Security

45%

60%

42%

74%

41%

45%

24%

Job Satisfaction

45%

32%

53%

42%

59%

64%

35%

Physical Health

77%

88%

94%

89%

65%

73%

71%

Social Connectedness

27%

28%

47%

47%

35%

45%

35%

 

Argentina

Brazil

China

India

Japan

Mexico

Poland

Russia

S. Africa

S. Korea

U.A.E

U.K.

Mental health, substance abuse and/or suicide

18%

10%

3%

10%

38%

10%

0%

7%

28%

47%

0%

30%

Stress management and work-life balance

27%

29%

24%

43%

54%

42%

27%

31%

6%

 

24%

24%

 

40%

 

global barriers 
Figure 5: Top barriers globally to access appropriate mental/behavior health treatment when necessary

Innovation Spotlight

AffecTech, a multilateral research network, brings together eleven respected institutions from the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey to create mobile, wearable and personalized technology to help employees improve their mental health.

Happify, founded in the United States, provides gamification, tools and programs to help employees take control of their feelings and thoughts.

Psious, a Spanish company, has developed technology that uses virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality to help solve mental health issues ranging from anxiety disorders to phobias.

Remente, an app created by a Swedish-based company, aims to solve work-related stress. The app provides self-help information and offers advice and guidance based on cognitive behavioral therapy.

As employers look to innovate upon EAP programs and services, they are beginning to develop holistic mental health strategies and approaches to promote employee well-being. Emerging trends include:

Wearable technology to help address anxiety, bi-polar disorder and depression.

Life coaches to support work-life balance and holistic approaches to goal-setting.

Virtual reality training and technology to treat phobias and mental illness, specifically posttraumatic stress disorder.

Lay counselor networks of well- trained community members, who speak the same language as their patients, in locations with few mental health professionals.

Online mental health “hubs” In Finland, every hospital implements mental health therapy through an online portal. This “hub” includes a questionnaire to determine whether users have mental health problems, along with a signposting service to show people where to go for help.

As technology companies create more innovative approaches to manage mental health issues, it is important to strike a balance between promoting the use of technology platforms and human support.

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Global Trends
  2. Mental Health and Well-Being: A Country Snapshot
  3. Global Institute Member Insights
  4. Innovation Spotlight