Tapemark, a contract development and manufacturing company for drug, device and combination products located in West St. Paul, Minnesota makes good use of its employee assistance program. With only 110 employees, VP of human resources Pat Mork regularly refers people to the free-standing EAP.

Monk says she did not select an EAP rolled into the company health plan because the program she opted for is more flexible. “Employees are entitled to eight counseling visits per issue each year. We also have a management review component that helps my leadership team to deal with behavioral issues in the workforce,” she says.

Also see:Small employers walk the mental health talk.”

She gets quarterly utilization reports from her EAP provider and thinks it is money well-spent. “The EAP helps us retain talented employees who may be going through a difficult period for any one of many reasons,” she says.

Buck Consultants recently released a global study, “Promoting Mental Well-being: Addressing Worker Stress and Psychosocial Risks.” This survey was intended to measure employer strategies and practices to promote and improve the mental or psychological well-being of their employees.

The study reveals the five fastest growing programs promoting mental well-being offered by U.S. employers are EAPs, physical activity programs, work-life balance support programs, healthy lifestyle programs and leadership training focused on the individual.

In 2012, the Space Coast Human Resources Association, covering Central and North Brevard County in Florida, adopted a unique EAP for human resources professionals in member organizations.

Also see:12 questions to ask an EAP provider.”

Valeresa Poole was on the SCHRA Board when they became aware that a local mother who worked as an HR professional took her own life and the lives of her four children. Although the small manufacturing company the woman worked for had an EAP, Poole says this tragedy highlighted the need for her colleagues to have a confidential resource designed specifically for HR professionals.

“Because many of us are in the defense industry we have to report any kind of psychotic episode or counseling obtained through the company, otherwise our security clearance could be yanked and our jobs would be jeopardized,” she says.

Poole worked with other SCHRA Board members to implement a program. “We got sponsors in 24 hours so we could offer the EAP as a free benefit to the association’s 118 members. In the first year we won a Pinnacle Award from the Society for Human Resources Management,” she says.

Also see:Amex, DuPont prioritize mental health programs.”

Due to leadership changes the program has temporarily lapsed, but as the current president of the SCHRA, Poole is passionate about reviving the program and hopes to roll it up to HR Florida, the state’s HR association, or even nationwide through SHRM.

Sheryl Smolkin is a lawyer and freelance writer based in Toronto.

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