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Why Employee Assistance Programs Are Becoming a Necessary Benefit

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When it comes to health and wellness in the workplace, experts agree that there is a direct correlation between an employee’s mental health and his or her performance at work. Here, James Kinville, senior director for Workpartners’ LifeSolutions Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is designed  for employees and members of their households, discusses the importance of EAPs as an increasingly valuable benefit plan option in 2024.


Workpartners has been a longtime partner of the MBA when it comes to employee assistance programs (EAPs). What is the financial incentive for MBA members to participate?

Workpartners and the MBA have partnered for the past eight years. Through this partnership, MBA members have access to an exclusive 10-percent discount on EAP services provided by Workpartners.

What exactly is an EAP and how does it work?

An EAP is a collection of programs and services, run by various experts, licensed professionals, and qualified individuals that support employees and their household members with personal and workplace issues. Services are private and confidential and available at no cost to the employee or household member.

Why are EAPs gaining ground as a critical part of an employee’s benefits package?

Today, employees and employers are more open than ever to talking about mental health and well- being, and many organizations purposefully seek to create an atmosphere of mental health and well-being for their employees. Post-pandemic, it has become clear that its effects will be long-lasting. The crisis has exacerbated mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and substance use disorders, as millions face increased stress around health, work and family. As a result, demand for more comprehensive and accessible mental and behavioral health solutions is on the rise. Remarkably, 35 million Americans who haven’t done so in the past will be seeking some level of behavioral health support. The pandemic has forced employers and leadership to create a culture of support around mental well-being.

What sets Workpartners’ EAP services apart from other resources?

Workpartners understands that employees are

more than just their roles at work. Today, we all face numerous challenges, such as finding childcare, managing resources for elder care,

handling college debt, or facing stress at home or work. To meet the challenges of our extraordinary times, Workpartners has built an EAP that is flexible, proactive, and socially conscious to offer real solutions to today’s most pressing concerns.

  • We have a clinical first model, meaning our calls are answered 24/7 by a mental health clinician who can assess callers for a variety of mental well-being needs.
  • We are available anywhere, anyway, any time. We provide coaching/counseling via several modalities — in person, telephonic, virtual and texting.
  • We have roots in UPMC and access to UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital and UPMC Western Behavioral Health and UPMC Community Care Behavioral Health.
  • We have been delivering services for 40 years.
  • We provide integration with wellness, workers’ comp, leave and absence.
  • We boast a 97-percent retention rate, serving 13,000 organizations.
  • We have 12 proprietary clinical offices, a very large network of contracted affiliates, a partnership with BetterHelp, and we can support organizations with employees who are abroad.

What are the benefits of EAPs for employers and employees?

About 200 million workdays are lost each

year due to depression, costing businesses $17 billion to $44 billion. An EAP helps employers reduce their healthcare expenses and workers’ compensation costs, decrease absenteeism, reduce injuries, and enable injured workers or those on leave to return to work faster.

An EAP offers support for:

  • Mental health challenges, like depression, anxiety and stress
  • Substance or alcohol misuse
  • Health coaching
  • Finding child or elder care options
  • Financial or legal services
  • Access to our digital health solution, RxWell

Leaders, managers and HR can receive guidance and support with organizational changes, responding to traumatic events, coaching, and resolving workplace conflicts. We also offer Mental Health First Aid Training, Mindfulness Programs, and a Coaching Course for new or seasoned leaders.

How can MBA members learn more about Workpartners’ LifeSolutions EAP services?

To learn more, visit workpartners.com/advocacy/employee-assistance-programs/.