Smiling female office worker at desk how can EAPs help employees

Why employers should use an EAP to look after their employees’ mental health

To say the past two years have been tough for businesses is an understatement. Most have been left trying to survive, let alone thrive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the working landscape, bringing about fresh challenges for employers to deal with.

A key challenge has been looking after the mental health of employees, especially with a workforce that has been left reeling from two years of change and uncertainty.

Many employers are conscientious and take an active interest in the wellbeing of their employees, but the pandemic has heightened the importance of this sentiment, with anxiety, depression and stress now a common occurrence amongst workers.

From a business point of view, if workplace mental health and wellbeing is overlooked, employees can become less productive, take more time off and make a higher number of compensation claims, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For example, the average worker with a moderate mental health condition will take six days off each year and lose 20 days of productivity.

That’s why it’s imperative that businesses take steps to create a mentally healthy workplace, which can result in a positive return on investment.

The same report from PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that for every dollar spent on appropriate action, employers can enjoy a return of $2.30 in benefits to the business.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great way for employers to make sure they’re looking after their employees’ mental health, whilst enjoying the benefits positive mental health brings to the business.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

An EAP is a confidential counselling service designed to support employees experiencing mental health issues of any kind – be it personal, family or work-related.

It is a brief and practical solutions-focused intervention delivered by registered psychologists or provisionally registered psychologists to develop strategies to approach current and possibly future mental health concerns.

Are employee assistance programs confidential?


Despite increasing awareness, there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health. Many people feel uncomfortable with their employers finding out about their mental health issues. This can lead to employees not using their workplace EAP out of fears that this information will make its way back to the rest of the team.

That’s why EAP programs are 100% confidential. Each session is completely confidential to make you more comfortable and encourage you to seek out mental health support.

Nothing you talk about with EAP psychologists will be shared with anyone else in the organisation without written consent, and all personal information is protected by the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002, and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. Your employer isn’t even told the names of anyone who uses the EAP service, though they may be told how many people total used the service.

How many sessions does an EAP cover?

Employee assistance programs offer on-demand, short-term counselling. Generally, EAPs offer a fixed number of sessions per-employee, though the exact number will depend on your EAP arrangement and service provider.

For long-term mental health issues that require ongoing treatment and support, EAP psychologists may refer you to an associated service or mental health professional for further sessions and support.

How to access an EAP service

The good news is that an EAP allows you to receive support without going through your organisation’s HR or management.

If your workplace has an EAP in place, you will probably have a phone number or website you can use to request counselling or support directly with your EAP psychologists or provider. This contact information may be in the employee handbook or in a common area.

Once you get in touch, you may need to provide some details or fill out a self-referral form before booking your first session.

What does Access Psych’s EAP program offer?

Access Psych’s EAP psychologists are on hand to offer professional support to employees experiencing mental health issues and difficulties of any kind – personal or work related. We can provide a range of confidential and dependable psychological services – from depression counselling to sleep therapy – along with a national, 24/7 call triaging service.

In some cases, the speciality or duration of counselling may be outside the scope of EAP services. If this is the case, we may facilitate a referral via the employee’s General Practitioner for counselling under Medicare’s Better Access to Mental Health Care program.

To make the service accessible, employees can choose how they receive the service: either face-to-face at Access Psych offices in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, over the phone or via telehealth – whichever option best suits their needs.

How does an employee assistance program work? Some of the issues our EAP psychologists can help with

Work-related issues:

  • Adjusting to change
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Career management
  • Communications
  • Managing conflict in the workplace
  • Performance issues
  • Work pressure/problems
  • Work/life balance

Personal issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief and bereavement
  • Personal trauma
  • Relationship problems
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse

EAP program benefits: why have an EAP service at your organisation?

Employee Assistance Programs not only benefit the employee, but also the employer, with most employers that sign up quick to notice considerable changes.

EAP services may help reduce absences, increase productivity and decrease compensation claims – all whilst making the workplace more appealing to new recruits.

Reduction in absences

Absences caused by untreated mental health conditions cost businesses in Australia $4.7 billion each year, according to PricewaterhouseCooper, something EAP services can work to reduce.

Increased productivity

It’s estimated that businesses in Australia lose $6.1 billion each year through a lack of productivity caused by untreated mental health conditions.

EAP services can play a role in helping employees increase productivity, resilience and goal attainment whilst also reducing instances of early retirement.

Fewer compensation claims

Businesses in Australia spend around $147 million on compensation claims each year, and that’s not just reserved for the most physically strenuous jobs, as many people think.

Compensation claims are high across the board. For example, the average claim for an employee in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry – a notoriously physical industry – was $27,000, whilst the average claim for an employee in administrative and support services was $23,800k – a slim difference.

Recruiting new talent and keeping existing talent

The Australian workforce is acutely aware of how much interest employers take in their mental health and wellbeing.

Nearly three-quarters of Australian employees say a mentally healthy workplace is important when looking for a new job, according to the Heads Up Initiative by Beyond Blue.

A mentally healthy workplace was also the second most importance factor in employees’ decision to accept a new position.

The Heads Up Initiative reinforces the importance of being conscientious and pro-active with employees’ mental health, especially when it comes to appealing to new recruits.

With that being said, it’s also vitally important to look after the mental health of existing employees.

The same Beyond Blue initiative found that employees thinking of leaving their current job for a better job would stay if they got a new manager who actively promoted the mental health of employees and who was supportive of employees with mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

Why use Access Psych?

Access Psych is a trusted EAP provider for Australian businesses that want to look after their employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

We understand that choosing an EAP can be a difficult decision, which is why we keep things as simple as possible, whilst always being upfront with what offer.

From the get-go, we tailor our EAP packages to suit the organisation, because we know that no two businesses are the same.

In addition to the EAP service, Access Psych offers a suite of corporate health packages designed to improve employees’ health and wellbeing, while reducing absenteeism and the risk of illness.

To make things convenient, employees can access the service in-person at one of Access Psych’s offices, over the phone or via telehealth – whatever works for them.

Find out more by calling or emailing

Want to know more? Our friendly team are on hand to answer any questions about our EAP service.

Whether you’re an employer curious about how EAP psychologists can maintain mental health at your organisation or an individual looking for mental health support, our team is ready to answer your questions.

Please contact us on 1800 277 924 or via email at




The information provided in this Blog is general in nature and is intended to be used for information purposes only. While we have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information published, no guarantee can be given that the information is free from error or omission or that it is accurate, current or complete. The information published is not, and should not be relied on as, health or treatment advice. The diagnosis and treatment of any mental illness requires the attention of a physician or other properly qualified mental health professional. If you are seeking diagnosis or treatment of any other mental illness, you should consult a physician or mental health professional.  You should not delay in seeking, or disregard, professional health advice because of something you have read in the Blog.