Effectively Promoting the Addiction Treatment Benefits and Increasing Utilization of Your EAP
As is the case across the United States, very few Americans receive the appropriate treatment for their substance abuse and/or mental health issues. By some accounts, only 10% of those needing it receive appropriate care. The utilization rate of behavioral health programs through EAPs may be half of that. And while we would like to believe that employees take advantage of their employment benefits, there are many barriers to getting care, especially when it comes to behavioral health.
Some of the best ways to improve utilization for much needed care includes:
- Reducing Stigma – whether in the workplace or not, stigma remains one of the biggest barriers to people getting appropriate behavioral healthcare. While we understand more about addiction and mental illness than ever before, there is still a distinct lack of acceptance. This can be heightened in a setting like the workplace, where employees may be intimately aware of their colleagues’ personal lives. Eliminating the stigma rarely comes from a mandated, structured training program. Rather, the most successful programs engage employees to understand the underpinnings of addiction and mental health problems and how effective treatment can be.
- Educating Leaders – it is often the leadership of the company that is most resistant to the realities of the addiction and mental health epidemic in their companies. Oftentimes, this resistance comes from simple ignorance as to the cost of these problems both to the employee’s health and company’s productivity. Other chronic diseases are better known and more understood by the average manager. However, much like any other chronic disease, substance abuse and mental health problems can be debilitating, manifesting slowly and quietly until they become a serious concern for all involved.
- Emphasize Confidentiality – Employees may be concerned about confidentiality of the therapy their receive through their EAP program. The idea that their boss may know about their substance-abuse and mental health problems is enough to avoid proper care. It is important to stress that all behavioral health therapy sessions, internal and external, proceed with the utmost in confidentiality.
- Develop or Share Tools to Stay Top of Mind – While employees may initially show a great deal of enthusiasm toward addiction and mental health related programs, the sheen can wear off in time. Keep your employees interested with newsletters, Facebook Groups, helpful tips on a weekly or monthly basis and even live online workshops. Understanding what’s available to them is key to uptake.
While we are making progress with more access to care than ever before, we still have a long way to go. Regardless of the barriers to appropriate care, creating a culture of shared values and priorities within the program can help employees feel more comfortable seeking intervention for a problem that can easily spiral out of control. Call Us for More Information 877-772-1930