EAP NewsBrief
Aug. 19, 2014

Pre-Conference training courses offer certificates, in-depth skill building
Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Earn a certificate in Mental Health First Aid from the National Council for Behavioral Health! If you are a current or aspiring EAP network clinician, earn your EAS-C (Employee Assistance Specialist – Clinical) certificate! These are just two of the six high-demand pre-conference training courses being offered on Sept. 28 and 29 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Hotel, just before EAPA's 2014 World EAP Conference. Other one-day courses this year include EAP Business Value & ROI, Consulting with Executives, and EAPA's official CEAP Exam Prep course. Also offered this year is a special two-day DOT/SAP Qualification and Update training course led by Lee Mauk. All pre-conference courses provide in-depth skill-development training taught by leading experts. Make the most of your time in Orlando!More

How does medical marijuana use affect employment?
BenefitsPro
As marijuana legalization spreads from municipality to municipality and state to state, employers watching this wave of legislation to end marijuana prohibition have good reason to wonder about the future of their employment policies. And in questionable workplace situations that involve medical marijuana, employers might be confused about what they are and are not required to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act.More

10 steps to an insider threat program — EAP a key ally
Federal Times
Since its inception, the Department of Homeland Security has invested significant time and resources into detecting and mitigating insider threats, integrating information from a variety of internal sources including the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, the Chief Information Security Officer, the CIO, CSO, and Internal Affairs at both the component and headquarters levels. However, as the workplace becomes more virtual and less compartmentalized, the need for increased organizational focus on insider threat has never been greater, as evidenced in recent incidents like the NSA leaker and Navy Yard shooter.More

How virtual therapy could help the military fight PTSD
NBC News
In Afghanistan, a new therapist is talking with soldiers. Her name is Ellie, she is the face of a computer program and she could be the key to identifying PTSD in America's military. Equipped with a Microsoft Kinect motion sensor, she nods at the right time, urges patients on with a well-timed "uh-huh" and knows when to stop talking. A study released earlier this month found that patients were more willing to open up to Ellie than to a human therapist, mostly because they felt like they were not being judged by the computer program.More

5 things employers should know about prescription painkiller use
National Safety Council via Industrial Distribution
The number of people overdosing from opioid prescription painkillers is staggering, killing 45 people each day. Twenty-three percent of the workforce has misused prescription painkillers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, making opioid use a serious threat to employee safety. Even when employees are taking opioid painkillers at the correct dosage with a valid prescription, subtle impairment may compromise workplace safety.More

Telling boss about mental illness can be boon to career
Scientific American
The World Health Organization reports that mental illness is among the leading causes of disability across the globe. In a 2011 survey of more than 2,000 people, about a quarter reported experiencing a mental health problem on the job, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a British human resources agency. In the U.S., depression alone causes employees to miss 200 million days of work every year, costing employers $31 billion in lost revenue. Despite its prevalence, mental illness is steeped in stigma, and people who call in sick or otherwise fall behind at work because of mental health issues often fabricate excuses to cover up the real reason for their lapse.More

Psychiatric hospital fined for not doing enough to protect employees from violent patients
The Free Press
The Minnesota Security Hospital has not done enough to protect its employees from violent patients, according to federal workplace safety regulators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied a $4,900 fine on the St. Peter hospital, which houses the mentally ill and dangerous. According to the citation, "employees were not properly protected from workplace violence by an effective workplace violence prevention program.” The violation was termed "serious" because the hazard could cause death or serious physical harm.More

Large employers see health cost reductions
BenefitsPro
The rising cost of providing employee health benefits won't be rising as fast in 2015 as it did this year. And that reduction in annual increases could become a trend, at least among large U.S. employers. Those are two significant findings from a survey from the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of nearly 400 large U.S. employers. The survey suggests that the efforts by large employers to better control their health care costs are working as they integrate wellness plans, cost-sharing and consumer-directed health plan elements into their design strategies.More

5 American towns chosen as contestants in 5-year wellness challenge
Forbes
Technology investor Esther Dyson is sponsoring a competition called the Way to Wellville aimed at charting a path to better health in the U.S. based on the real-world experience of five small cities and towns. Recently, Dyson and her team announced the five participants: Muskegon, Michigan; Lake County, California; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Clatsop County, Oregon; and Niagara Falls, New York. These five cities, each with a population under 100,000, were chosen from 42 contestants and will spend the next five years working to improve the health of their community. All of the cities will aim to improve children's nutrition, reduce rates of chronic disease, improve social conditions and the overall environment, and assure that high-quality medical services are available to all.More