Published on 23rd June, 2022
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused much anxiety among employees and their families, creating unfamiliar public health measures that disrupt our everyday routines. The crisis has resulted in an estimated loss of 81 million jobs in 2020 in the Asia-Pacific region. The war in Ukraine has led to world-wide inflation and supply-chain issues, due to an increased cost of oil. These immediate and observable changes to our day-to-day routines have led to emotional distress, impacting our mental health. In these times of stress, we need the support we can get to work better. This is why Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are ever so relevant in recent times.
An EAP may be best described as any work-based intervention program created to assist employees in resolving work-related or personal problems which may be negatively affecting an employee’s performance at work. These work-based programs are offered free of charge to the employee, and come in the form of confidential psychological assessments, short-term counselling, referrals to healthcare professionals, mental wellness talks, helpline support, and other follow-up services that aid workers in their personal or work-related problems. Such EAP services address a wide and complicated area of issues that affect mental and emotional wellbeing, including alcohol or other substance misuse, stress, anxiety, depression, grief, family and relationship problems, and other psychological disorders. Counsellors and psychologists specialising in the field of EAP may also work in tandem with HR Managers and other supervisors to address employee and organisational issues and requirements. More importantly, EAP services help organisations prevent and deal with workplace grievances and sexual harassment, trauma, and other crisis response situations.
EAP services are delivered at no cost to employees by stand-alone EAP providers, usually by psychological practices in the public and private sectors, as these practices are experts in the field of psychological wellness and treatment. These services have been traditionally delivered in the form of in-person and over-the-phone counselling, but have evolved to counselling through a video-based web call, email correspondence, or even through online chats today. Mobile apps catering to mental wellness specifically to the organisation or to the individual are another medium in the evolution of EAP services.
For EAP services to be successful, employees must have the confidence to engage in these services. Employees must be ensured confidentiality in any counselling. These counselling services must be practical, accessible, and be of a sufficient number of sessions for adequate efficacy. The EAP counsellor or psychologist must be able to support the employee in tackling the whole host of personal or work-related issues, at the same time helping to equip them with the tools they need to proactively and manage their mental health.
Such demand for EAP services has led to numerous providers wanting to cash in on this market, bringing about challenges in determining the credibility and credentials of practitioners. While it is important to consider prices and sourcing for an affordable provider, employers seeking EAP services should also look into the qualifications of the counsellors and psychologists. Accredited, licensed and experienced mental health professionals who are registered with counselling governing bodies and psychological societies are recommended. In Singapore, the counselling authority would be the Singapore Association for Counselling, and the psychological field would be the Singapore Psychological Society. Counsellors and psychologists registered with these two governing bodies have had their qualifications and certificates stringently vetted and accepted, and are approved to be practitioners.
Learn more about our EAP Program, Optimize. We are with you, every step of the way.
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