An employee assistance program or EAP is an employer funded, accessible and confidential support service for workers. EAP’s focus on empowering workers with skills to proactively self-manage their own wellbeing.
An EAP is established through an agreement between an employer and an EAP service provider. Establishing an EAP is a way an employer can show their support for their workers mental health and wellbeing.
When accessing an EAP a worker connects with a psychologist, social worker or counsellor via face to face consultation, phone consultation or video call. A worker does not need a work-related concern to access their EAP. Common concerns a worker may access their EAP for include:
anxiety and fear;
drug or alcohol addiction;
bullying and harassment;
work-life balance issues;
relationship issues; and
An EAP may also include a Critical Incident Response (CIR) service. This is a 24/7 phone connection with a mental health professional who can assist with psychological care in an urgent situation.
There is often no fee to establish an EAP, with an employer only being invoiced once a worker has accessed a service. For more information on establishing an EAP, contact CHG.
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In the 2018FY there were 294 accepted workers compensation claims for psychological injuries, with an average claim cost of $62,363 per claim (ReturnToWorkSA 2019). With over 17 weeks of lost time on average psychological injury claims can lead to a significant disruption to workplace operations as well as an increase in workers compensation premiums (Safe Work Australia 2019).
Workplace psychological injuries are rarely as a result of a single incident but rather the summation of a pattern of incidents or ongoing behaviour in the workplace often involving co-workers and their managers. As a result workplace psychological injuries are complex to manage and require input from experienced professionals who work closely with the treating medical practitioner and injured worker, including:
social workers; and
With physical injuries in the workplace a secondary psychological injury can also develop based on the worker and their experience with the return to work process.
Prevention should be a key focus for employers. The table below lists some common causes of psychological injury and prevention strategies. Employers can help prevent psychological injuries by promoting positive mental health and valuing worker wellbeing.
For more information on how to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, contact CHG.
Employers can promote men’s health awareness by engaging a health professional to implement screening tests regularly onsite in their workplace. For more information about men’s health and how you can support your workers, contact CHG.
Meet CHG’s Director of Clinical Services and Customer Relations
Sam Schirmer is CHG’s Director of Clinical Services and Customer Relations. Sam is an industrial physiotherapist with over 40 years of experience in the field of occupational health. In her role, Sam is responsible for EAP contract management involving CHG’s team of psychologists, social workers and counsellors, as well as evaluating and responding to CHG customer feedback whilst facilitating business development and innovation.
Sam has a passion for mental health in the workplace and is a certified instructor for delivering the mental health first aid certificate course to South Australian employer representatives. Sam also manages CHG’s CIR service, providing 24/7 first aid contact to workers who have experienced ‘out of the ordinary’ work related events, such drivers involved in bus or train accidents, or workers involved in robberies.
Psychological injury claims make up 2.3% of all workplace injury claims in South Australia. However their average claim cost is three times that of a physical injury claim. Implementing an EAP for their workplace is an effective way for an employer to show support for their workers and help prevent a psychological concern from becoming a psychological injury.
CHG partners with over 100 employers to deliver more than 3,000 EAP consults each year across South Australia. CHG client data demonstrates that on average a worker requires 1.7 EAP consults to manage their psychological concern and prevent a psychological injury claim.
This results in an
estimated return on
investment of $88 for
every $1 an employer
spends on a CHG
To learn more about how an EAP can help your workplace, contact CHG.
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