EAP NewsBrief
Feb. 18, 2014

Friday, Feb 21 is deadline for submitting proposals for 2014 World EAP Conference in Orlando
Employee Assistance Professionals Association
The deadline to submit proposals in response to the "Call for Proposals" for EAPA's 2014 Annual World EAP Conference in Orlando, Fla., is now Friday, Feb. 21. The conference will be held Sept. 28-Oct. 2 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Hotel, located in the Walt Disney World® Resort. Attendees from more than 40 countries spanning the globe are expected to participate. Appropriately for this year's unique location, the conference theme is "Imagine...." More

Accountable Care Act also impacts wellness/EAP integration
Employee Benefit News
With the new ACA regulations, worksite wellness programs are now part of a national public health strategy to address the increase in chronic diseases, which are predicted to cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $4.2 trillion annually by 2023. Evidence suggests that worksite wellness programs are cost-beneficial, saving companies money in health care expenditures and producing a positive return on investment. There are essentially two types of wellness programs: participatory wellness programs and health-contingent wellness programs. An interesting trend with both types of wellness programs is the effort underway to integrate them with Employee Assistance Programs and other employer initiatives with a health component. Based on a Behavioral Risk survey conducted in 2012, fully 97 percent of employers surveyed had an existing EAP. But as prevalent as EAPs are, they are woefully underutilized.More

School's 'Tell Somebody' program helps keep students, faculty and staff safe
Texas A&M University
A team of dedicated professionals at Texas A&M University stands ready to help students, faculty and staff by intervening when concerning behaviors are reported to them. Their goal: to prevent a larger problem or crisis from occurring. By having one team that is comprised of leaders of all relevant units — student affairs, student counseling services, student life, the dean of faculties, the employee assistance program, residence life and the university police — we can finally see the total picture.More

Addiction treatment specialists: Heroin deaths avoidable
Voice of America
Experts say that narcotic addiction and overdose deaths are epidemic in the United States, particularly in the northeast. A major factor in the upsurge, drug treatment specialists say, is middle class people in their 20s and 30s who become addicted to prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, and then turn to heroin.More

Suicide prevention efforts showing positive results
The Redstone Rocket
The Army-wide decline in suicides last year was welcome news to Redstone's employee assistance program manager, Richard Lewis. "I think the Ready and Resilient campaign's being effective," he said. The Army Substance Abuse Program office provides ACE training which stands for Ask, Care and Escort. This annual training for suicide prevention is done when and where requested. ASIST training, which stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, will begin this year.More

Wearable device reads brain waves; EAPs are interested
CNN Money
A new device called the Muse sits on your ears like eyeglasses and has seven sensors that collect data. Ariel Garten, chief executive of Interaxon, says the included application has activities on it that help to calm and settle the mind; soon it might also be helpful for noticing when your mind has wandered during a task. Garten reports strong pre-orders from consumers and corporate employee assistance programs. Garten declined to share specific figures but says that employee assistance programs are pre-ordering the device to help staff with stress, attention and overall wellness.More

Study: Quitting smoking linked to better mental health
Washington University School of Medicine via HealthDay News
Quitting smoking may be as good for mental health as it is for physical health, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data from 4,800 daily smokers in the United States who took part in two surveys conducted three years apart. Those who had an addiction or other mental health problems in the first survey were less likely to have those issues in the second survey if they'd quit smoking, the investigators said.More

Court rules Seasonal Affective Disorder warrants accommodation under ADA
A Wisconsin primary school teacher had bouts of depression that led to a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD — an abnormal reaction to the lack of sunshine in the winter months. She asked to be assigned to a classroom with exterior windows, but her request was denied. She eventually resigned and sued the district for failure to accommodate her under the Americans with Disabilities Act. District officials argued the teacher was not an otherwise-qualified individual with a disability, contending she wouldn't have been able to return to work even in a classroom with windows.More

Firm launches grant fund for employees with financial problems
Dallas Business Journal
The Container Store Inc. launched a fund that will provide grants to employees experiencing an unforeseen financial challenge. The Coppell, Texas-based retailer is contributing $100,000 to start the fund, called the Employee First Fund, It will cover emergencies, major medical situations, catastrophic events or other unexpected financial issues.More

OECD: UK needs to tackle high cost of mental ill health
OECD via Medical News Today
Mental health issues cost the U.K. around GBP 70 billion every year, or roughly 4.5 percent of GDP, in lost productivity at work, benefit payments and health care expenditure. Better policies and practices by employers and the health system are needed to help people deal with mental health issues and get back to work, according to a new OECD report.More

Study: Stressed UK workers receive little help from employers
Actuarial Post
According to surveys in the U.K. by Canada Life Group Insurance, almost half of respondents (49 percent) struggled with stress in 2013. However, few received satisfactory help from their employer. Only a fifth (21 percent) of those who had stress-related issues were given access to third-party services which help with stress, such as Employee Assistance Programs.More

Pentagon evaluates tracking family suicides
After years of urging from support groups, the Defense Department has taken the first steps toward setting up a system to track suicides among military family members. In a report to Congress recently, the Defense Suicide Prevention Office acknowledged the military currently "does not have the ability to investigate, monitor, or receive notification of military family member deaths," according to the report entitled "Suicides and Military Families."More