EAP services for a better you!

November was Mental Health Awareness month, but I was a little too overwhelmed to be on top of that, so this column is a few days into December.

My recent discombobulation is as a result of some changes in my business. Then, when I noticed my stress spilling over into my personal life, I contacted my Employee Assistance Program and lined up some sessions with a counselor. For more than two decades, I’ve been quick to run to a therapist when my mental balances get out of whack.

Seems as though I’m not alone in this behavior. According to a West Virginia University report, approximately 20% of Americans have sought the support of a therapist at one time or another, and the United States Department of Labor projects a 23% increase in the demand for counselors in Colorado over the next ten years.

Still, for many, therapy can seem like an option that only the weak would pursue. Why air your problems to someone else when you could be fixing them yourself? Without getting too in the weeds with research studies, I’ll say there’s overwhelming evidence that counseling services improve mental health for an average of 70% of people who use them, including me.

Offering EAP services to employees makes fiscal sense, too. One study within Britain’s postal service reported $125,000 in expense savings in just six months as a result of providing counseling support to employees. A mentally healthy employee is naturally more productive than one distracted by anxiety or depression.

Yet for all of these plusses, only three percent of employees who have access to EAP programs use them, primarily because many aren’t even aware of counseling as an option. So in an effort to improve well being for more of us (and in honor of Mental Health Awareness) I encourage you to check into what might be available. Look for a contact number on your insurance card. When you call, they’ll ask a few questions (your answers are confidential, of course) and then provide you information about potential service providers in the area. Here’s to feeling—and being—better.

Photo Credit: © Brian Chase | Dreamstime Stock Photos