Research* from Jelf Employee Benefits shows that stress affects the majority of companies, with 73% of firms saying that stress has been an issue for them in the last three years. Further, 85% of companies believe it will be an increasing people risk for their business. Yet 75% don’t have a policy to manage stress and only 5% believe their line managers and employees are aware of the help available.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
However, help is available and the company is pointing employers in the direction of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is an effective way to deal with a range of mental health issues, and is often included in standalone, comprehensive Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). Jelf believes including CBT is vital to an EAP benefit being successful.
CBT, however is not included in every EAP programme and even less so where the EAP is an add-on to other insurances such as PMI, cash plans or group risk. Jelf warns employers that an EAP without CBT is not as effective a solution as one with CBT.
Chris Cannon, business development manager, healthcare, Jelf Employee Benefits said: “Stress is a problem for most companies but support is available. CBT may only be one element within an EAP but it is an important one in terms of supporting employees through stressful situations.
“An employee who seeks support via their EAP’s telephone or face-to-face counselling service could find that their treatment options are limited if CBT was not offered as part of their EAP package, leaving them forced to arrange their own ongoing treatment when they are at their most vulnerable.”
CBT has been proven to have a significant impact on stress and anxiety – and in some cases, to be as effective as medication. It teaches the patient coping skills for dealing with different problems.
The cost of stress
According to the Office of National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey, 45 million days were lost to stress, anxiety and depression last year alone, costing the economy £2.4billion. With the average cost of an EAP that includes CBT ranging from £5-£15 per month per employee, Jelf Employee Benefits believes there is a strong case for all employers to consider EAPs to help reduce workplace absenteeism.
Chris Cannon continued: “CBT is considered the gold standard in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and employers would be wise to ensure it is part of their EAP programme – not simply because of its immediate effectiveness, but employees learn skills that they will carry forward too. The business case could not be simpler.”
*Research conducted among 124 companies by Jelf Employee Benefits in October 2016