EAP NewsBrief
Jan. 28, 2014

Study: Workplace wellness programs deliver mixed results — implications for program design & EAPs
Society for Human Resource Management
A new Rand Corp. study examining a large employee wellness program, which included separate chronic disease management and healthy lifestyle initiatives, found that efforts to help employees manage chronic illnesses saved $3.78 in health care costs for every $1 invested in the effort. Wellness efforts that encourage healthy living lifestyle changes did not show a positive ROI on health care costs, but analysis showed that lifestyle management can reduce absenteeism. Thus, if an employer wants to improve employee health or productivity, an evidence-based lifestyle management program can achieve this goal. But employers who are seeking a healthy ROI on their programs should target employees who already have chronic diseases.More

Integrating EAP with wellness programs delivers ROI
Employee Benefit News
When human resource departments effectively communicate about EAPs, the results are impressive. Employers can receive a significant ROI from outreach and enhanced treatment of depressed workers for a cost of only $100-$400 for low- to moderate-intensity interventions. While data is still preliminary, integrating EAPs with wellness programs likely produces even higher returns at little if any added cost.More

Undiagnosed mental distress hinders productivity
Wolters Kluwer Health via PsychCentral
In a new study, researchers from the University at Albany SUNY discovered that although many adults do not have a formal psychiatric diagnosis, they still have mental health symptoms that interfere with full participation in the workforce. The investigators believe interventions are necessary to aid employees who meet diagnostic criteria for mental illness and for those with subclinical levels of symptoms.More

Research: Parity law has little effect on spending for substance abuse treatment
Yale University via Medical Xpress
Despite predictions that requiring health insurers to provide equal coverage for substance use disorder treatment would raise costs, a Yale study finds that the economic impact so far has been minimal. A team of researchers studied the first year of the federal parity law's implementation and found that it did not result in an increase in the proportion of enrollees seeking treatment for substance use disorders. Their analysis also identified only a modest increase in spending for substance use disorder treatment.More

Working with 'mindfulness' reduces job stress
Miami Herald
Teaching and encouraging mindfulness in the workplace has become a part of corporate efforts to reduce the stresses that can lead to burnout. Increasingly, the practice has gone mainstream, buoyed by the recent endorsements of CEOs, educators, actors and politicians who link mindfulness to improved psychological and even physical health.Evidence suggests practicing "mindfulness" can help companies diminish stress-related costs.More

Hidden mental ill-health undermines British businesses
Many people hide issues of mental health at work for fear of reputational damage. This means issues that could easily be managed take hold. Businesses are not reporting on mental health and many are not openly discussing it, which is exacerbating the problem. BITC Workwell research on the FTSE 100 found that not one of the firms publicly report on employee psychological health and only six revealed that staff have access to an employee assistance program.More

UK to support employers in managing mental health
Employee Benefits
The British government plans to support employers in managing mental health issues in the workplace, particularly in helping affected employees return to work. Its Closing the gap: priorities for essential change in mental health report outlines 25 areas for health and care services to take action to help tackle mental health conditions. For employers, it will provide the support to promote workplace well-being to increase productivity and prevent the build-up of stress at work.More

Peer-support specialists gain funding and ground in Medicaid programs
Inside Health Policy
Thirty-five state Medicaid programs have expanded to reimburse peer-support specialists since 2001, which experts in the mental and substance abuse fields say is a sea-tide of change that could eventually result in validation and creation of a profession that fits well with accountable care organizations and the push for value-based purchasing. The experts say there is enough data to make the case for a federal program to expand peer support programs, even into the duals demonstrations, and suggest expanding peer specialists' role could be a huge cost saver and a potential add-on to a deficit reduction bill.More

Study: Millennials want more in-person collaboration, less telecommuting
OZY.com via USA Today
Millennials have been variously described as enthusiastic, adaptable, entrepreneurial and skilled multitaskers — and as lazy, entitled and unmanageable job hoppers. What seems to have escaped the modern media machine in its zeal to define this influential generation is that they don't appreciate being shoehorned and typecast. Particularly when it comes to the thing employers have come to count on them for — facilitating technology's integration into the workplace.More

Many Australians carry passion for work into addiction
The Sydney Morning Herald
Two-fifths of working Australians report that they are working at very high speeds and to tight deadlines three-quarters of their working time. A third believe they have too much work to do for one person. Yet many workaholics talk about the buzz they get from working — the adrenaline rush of being under intense pressure and having to meet deadlines. Between 8 and 25 percent of workers identify as workaholics, according to a study recently published in the U.S. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.More

Retail employers change practices to aid workers
Human Resource Executive
In the retail industry, poor employee health can be exacerbated by stressful working conditions. Some companies are trying to alleviate this by changing their practices in areas such as time-and-attendance and workforce management.More