Article written by Sally Websiter

Believe it or not, more and more Australians are recognising the workplace as somewhere they can seek out mental health support. This is because more and more employers are offering mental wellness benefits through something we call an Employer Assistance Program, or EAP.

At Nexus Psychology we’ve been proud to offer this service for about six years at a range of sites in the Melbourne area.

Interesting statistics supplied in the latest Bupa Benchmark survey: Workplace Health in Australia, suggest that in 2016 more than 80% of Australian firms offer some kind of EAP program to their employees. Understanding how to prevent mental health issues is also a ‘growth area.’ About 30% of employers this year are asking themselves how they can encourage mental wellness as soon as employees join the ranks.

Many employees and employers, however, still don’t have a clear picture of what this process looks like.

To understand this more, let’s look at a hypothetical example of an employee being offered a role at a firm. Along with all the other benefits they might get, the employee is told that their employer will pay for the first 4 sessions with a psychologist, should they ever feel the need to seek help.

The employer pays for sessions without knowing which employee is receiving counselling. So the access to counselling for employees is entirely confidential.

At Nexus we like to ‘match’ the psychologist to the employee, to make sure they get the best personal value. To that end we offer a wide range of support that includes individual counselling, crisis response (this deals with acute workplace trauma and critical incident debriefing), workshops on a range of psychological health topics, and even mindfulness classes.

As workplace stress has become one of Australia’s number one issues, our mindfulness class demand has risen dramatically, so we offer the first 4 of 8 sessions free to employees of companies that have an EAP contract with Nexus. We’ve had some very encouraging feedback from employees who’ve completed the whole course.

The bottom line is that happier employees make for a happier workplace and vice-versa; this ethos is at the core of all our EAP services. When employees feel supported they function better as people and perform better as employees.

Because collective support and performance is such an important part of managing a team, we like to work closely with managers where possible. This might mean working one-on-one or in a group for appropriate mental health training. But it might also include helping a manager to guide a specific employee to seek help for an emotional struggle. In some instances, it is beneficial for an employee to meet with their manager and the EAP provider’s psychologist together. At Nexus we believe the best solutions are found through this tailored approach to wellness.

For companies considering working with an EAP provider, know that when you instate an EAP it shows you care about your employees wellbeing, and that you recognise the powerful influence mental health has over job satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity.

Moreover, preventative mental health support develops resilience in staff who are then able to deal better with crisis and challenge. We commend companies that help to promote mental health and support in the workplace.

For more information on the Nexus EAP, please visit our EAP page or contact us at 9500-0751

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