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Employee Assistance Resources - References

Research and references on the importance and value of EAP services:
  • In a 2003 study in the journal of the American Medical Association workers with depression reported significantly more total health-related lost productive time (LPT) than those without depression. 81% of the LPT costs are explained by reduced performance while at work with major depression accounting for 48% of the LPT. Extrapolation of these survey results suggests that US workers with depression employed in the previous week cost employers an estimated $44 billion per year in LPT, an excess of $31 billion per year compared with peers without depression. This estimate does not include labor costs associated with short- and long-term disability. (Walter F. Stewart, PhD, MPH; Judith A. Ricci, ScD, MS; Elsbeth Chee, ScD; Steven R. Hahn, MD; David Morganstein, MS JAMA. 2003;289(23):3135-3144. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3135)

  • Researchers analyzing results from the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey, a nationally representative study of Americans ages 15 to 54, reported that 18% of those who were employed said they experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous month.

  • Studies assessing the full work impact of mental health disorders often use the World Health Organization (WHO) Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, which not only asks employees to report how many days they called in sick, but also asks them to assess, on a graded scale, how productive they were on the days they actually were at work. The results are measured in days out of work (absenteeism) and lost productivity (“presenteeism”). In one study examining the financial impact of 25 chronic physical and mental health problems, researchers polled 34,622 employees at 10 companies. The researchers tabulated the amount of money the companies spent on medical and pharmacy costs for employees, as well as employees’ self-reported absenteeism and lost productivity, using the WHO questionnaire. When researchers ranked the most costly health conditions (including direct and indirect costs), depression ranked first, and anxiety ranked fifth — with obesity, arthritis, and back and neck pain in between.

  • Researchers who analyzed employee responses to the WHO questionnaire found that workers with depression reported the equivalent of 27 lost work days per year — nine of them because of sick days or other time taken out of work, and another 18 reflecting lost productivity. Other research has found that employees with depression are more likely than others to lose their jobs and to change jobs frequently. Part of the problem may be lack of treatment. In one study, only 57% of employees with symptoms of major depression said they had received mental health treatment in the previous 12 months. Of those in treatment, fewer than half — about 42% — were receiving treatment considered adequate, on the basis of how consistent it was with published guidelines about minimal standards of care. The researchers estimated that over all, when lack of treatment or inadequate treatment was taken into account, only about one in four employees with major depression received adequate treatment for the disorder. (Harvard Mental Health Letter - February 2010 - Mental Health Problems in the Workplace)