EAP NewsBrief
Nov. 6, 2012

EAPA posts SBC (summary of benefits & coverage) guidelines for EAPs
Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Most EAPs providing services in the U.S. fall under the new federal requirement for all group health plans to provide a standard "Summary of Benefits & Coverage" to all eligible employees. EAPA has developed a number of resources to assist EAPs (both internal and external) in complying with the SBC requirements. These resources, available free to EAPA members on EAPA's website, include a sample SBC form for EAPs with clarifying instructions for completion, an editable SBC template that EAPs can use to insert their own specific language, a frequently asked question section and other information.More

Storm anxiety is a danger in Sandy's path and far beyond
USA Today
Beyond ravaging winds and high waters, Hurricane Sandy, is hurling another potential danger toward millions of people — off-the-charts stress and anxiety. Don't discount anxiety's power for harm, says psychologist Joshua Klapow of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Klapow, a specialist in disaster mental health, dealt with the aftermath of the killer tornadoes that swept Alabama in April 2011.More

Study: Alcohol, drug abuse counselors don't always require
total abstinence

American Psychological Association via Medical Xpress
Compared to a survey conducted nearly 20 years ago, about twice the proportion of addiction counselors now find it acceptable for at least some of their patients to have a drink occasionally — either as an intermediate goal or as their final treatment goal, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.More

Study of antidepressants in pregnant women finds more risks
than benefits

CBS News
Commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants should be given to pregnant women with "great caution" because the drugs could raise risk for miscarriage, premature birth and health problems in both mom and a newborn baby, a new study concludes. For the study, published in Human Reproduction, researchers from several Boston-area hospitals reviewed previously published studies that examined women with depression who took antidepressants while pregnant.More

EEOC fact sheet points to broad anti-harassment enforcement
Employee Benefit News
Employers may need to review and revise their anti-harassment, -discrimination and -retaliation policies in light of a recent publication by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which seems to extend gender and disability protections beyond traditional coverage. The fact sheet includes several examples of workplace problems that may arise for victims of domestic or sexual violence or stalking.More

The changing roles of family caregivers
Health Affairs
One important area of health care and long-term care services and supports clings to outmoded terms and measures. Welcome to the hidden world of family caregivers — broadly defined as the spouses, adult children, other family members, partners, friends and neighbors who provide or manage most of the care of the growing number of non-institutionalized people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.More

Substance abuse diagnoses increasing in US
Reuters via Fox News
VideoBrief Possibly driven by a surge in painkiller abuse, the number of drug and alcohol problems diagnosed by U.S. doctors increased by 70 percent between 2001 and 2009, according to new research. The new study, which used information from two national surveys of doctors' visits, estimated that the number of those visits involving drug or alcohol abuse or addiction increased from 10.6 million between 2001 and 2003 to 18 million between 2007 and 2009.More

America's new war: More soldiers die by suicide than in combat
According to the U.S. Army, more soldiers are now dying by suicide than by enemy attack. In July, the worst month in recent history, the Army said 38 active duty soldiers killed themselves. It's the newest concern in America's war theater, camouflaged in the mysterious world of mental disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.More

Post-traumatic stress disorder in firefighters: Physical fitness
treatment options

Fire Engineering
Firefighters are often exposed to crime victim incidents, people who were "dead on arrival" (where the death was not caused by natural causes) and accidents where there were serious injuries. Many have reported that they had experienced stress associated with giving medical aid to children and infants. Stressors can also include unemployment and the loss of a loved one, which could trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.More

Drug, alcohol abuse costs Alaska's economy $1.2 billion
A new report finds that alcohol and drug abuse cost Alaska's economy $1.2 billion in 2010. That number includes direct, immediate costs, such as the $217.7 million spent on criminal justice and protective services and $237.3 million on health care costs. But the report, which was commissioned by the Alaska Mental Health Board and the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, says the largest impact comes from lost productivity.More

Survey: Communicating benefits still a work in progress
Employee Benefit News
In an era of easy access to real-time information on a daily basis, employers understand that more frequent benefits communication is expected. But research shows they're struggling to achieve key objectives in this area.More

The psychology of environmental trauma and the unpreparedness of our mental health care systems
National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation has released a new report on the largely unrecognized psychological consequences of climate change. The study reports that the impact of global climate change on Americans' mental health has been largely ignored, even though the incidence of mental and social disorders will rise steeply if climate change is not curtailed, adding significant costs to the already $317 billion in annual mental health care expenditures and lost productivity in the U.S.More