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New Survey Links Mental Health Issues in the Workplace to Higher Indirect Company Costs, Highlighting Need for Employee Assistance Programs

June 28, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
DENVER, CO - June 28, 2007 - A new national survey is underscoring the growing concern over mental health issues in the workplace and the critical need for employee assistance programs, or EAPs, and other services that address mental health head-on. Based on a recent May 31st survey of more than 500 company representatives across the United States, mental health ranked as the number one health issue requiring the highest indirect costs among employers, beating the second-ranked concern of back problems by more than two to one.

Industry experts say the survey results, released by the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Employee Benefit News, reflect the growing awareness that unresolved mental health problems can sour working relations, dampen productivity and increase absenteeism among a company’s most valuable resource – its employees.

“An unresolved mental health problem that affects an employee’s job performance can quickly become everyone’s problem and ultimately hurt a company’s bottom line,” said Dr. Robert Mines, CEO of the national employee assistance provider MINES and Associates (http://www.minesandassociates.com). Dr. Mines, a licensed psychologist, added, “Fortunately, more and more employers are now recognizing the importance of early and effective intervention and the long-term dividends of employee assistance programs and other on-the-job mental health services.”

For industry leaders such as MINES and Associates, such intervention means an easily accessible EAP that features conflict resolution, short-term counseling or referral, crisis intervention, a 24-hour emergency service and after-care follow-up. In addition, MINES’ managed mental health care service includes all assessments, referrals, authorizations and treatment monitoring, whereas its behavioral risk management can identify and address behavioral risks before they boil over and become disruptive physical or mental health problems.

With an extensive array of services available to employers and their employees, Dr. Mines stressed that education and sensitivity remain key parts of the equation. “Employees who are experiencing mental health problems need to know what their options are,” he said. “Educating them and allaying their fears of being stigmatized or having their privacy invaded can do wonders for getting early and effective help to those who need it most.” According to the survey results, for example, 80 percent of employers said they believe their workers don’t seek help for mental health problems because of the associated shame and stigma of a diagnosis, while many cited privacy concerns and a lack of awareness about the seriousness of the issue or about treatment options as other deterrents.

When accessed, however, such services can dramatically lower the indirect costs of diminished employee productivity and increased absenteeism, a result in line with recent studies that suggest productivity rises as the stress levels and health problems of employees go down. Through an EAP, in fact, organizations can realize returns on their investments ranging from $8 to $20 for every dollar spent. Early intervention that helps solve employee or member problems reduces additional long-term costs by providing savings in the recruitment, training and retention of valued employees.

In February, MINES introduced telephonic coaching and consultation to its already extensive list of employee assistance programs and services, allowing employees and families belonging to any of MINES’ client organizations to access EAP for confidential, one-on-one coaching sessions over the telephone. Trained professionals can help employees deal with topics ranging from conflict resolution and relationships to stress and even personal goals such as weight loss or smoking cessation. Together, the comprehensive array of tools focusing on the mental health and overall wellbeing of company employees can help people move forward with their lives, develop additional skills and enhance working relationships – positive steps for the continued health of any company.

The conclusions of this new survey suggests that as the list of success stories and new corporate strategies, such as EAP, continue to grow “companies large and small will recognize the value of investing in their employees’ mental health.” For more information on employee assistance programs and any of the other health and organizational psychology programs that MINES and Associates has to offer please log on to http://www.minesandassociates.com or contact Judy Braun at 1-800-873-7138 extension 4980.

About MINES & Associates

For more than 26 years, MINES & Associates has been nationally recognized as a leading business psychology firm providing a wide variety of services to corporate employers including employee assistance programs (EAP), managed mental healthcare, organizational development and psychology services, wellness programs, behavioral risk management, disease management and other technology-based services. MINES & Associates is separated into two main divisions, Organizational Psychology and Health Psychology, and currently serves a diverse portfolio of clients in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. For the latest news and information on MINES & Associates, please visit http://www.minesandassociates.com.

About the Survey

A May 31 survey released by Employee Benefit News and the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, included responses from 515 corporate executives and other company representatives. Participating companies represented more than 50 industry sectors and included firms with less than 100 employees as well as those with up to 350,000 employees. Asked to choose the health issue with the highest impact on indirect company costs, about 31 percent of respondents picked mental illness while 14 percent chose back problems, the second-highest ranked issue among ten choices. For more information on this survey please visit: http://www.workplacementalhealth.org

Contact:

Judy Braun
VP Organizational Services
Tel: 1-800-873-7138 ext. 4980
jgbraun@minesandassociates.com

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