Study: EAP Pays Dividends For Employers

August 1, 2003 ( - Managed behavioral health and employee assistance programs (EAP) are making inroads on a number of workplace issues frequently associated with employee depression and substance abuse.

Marked improvement was noticed among employees who initially reported a problem with productivity, absenteeism, or tardiness only three months after contacting their EAP or behavioral health plan, according to a recent study conducted by Magellan Behavioral Health – a company that provides these programs. Among the improvements noted:

  • Before treatment, 39% that reported a problem with completing their work prior to seeking assistance and 77% reported an improvement after.
  • Of the 26% that reported a problem with days missed from work prior to seeking assistance; 94% reported an improvement after treatment.
  • Almost two out of 10 (18%) reported a problem with late arrivals/early departures prior to seeking assistance, and 76% reported an improvement after.

Additionally, the study examined employees w ho had sought assistance for depression or substance abuse and tracked their progress on the same workplace issues as the other group.

These employees were contacted six months after making contact with their EAP.

Overall, 85% of the six-month respondents reported feeling better and 83% reported an improvement in their general emotional health. Also among the improvements were:

  • Previously, 19% reported a problem completing their work; after treatment there was a decrease of 50% for this group.
  • Of the 10% that reported a problem with days missed from work; after treatment there was a decrease of 67% for this group
  • The 8% that reported a problem with late arrivals/early departures saw a decline of 58% in this behavior after treatment.

“Now, more than ever, our customers understand the relationship between behavioral health issues and the productivity of their employees,” said David Wadell, senior vice-president of Magellan’s workplace division, in a statement. “Mental illness can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line, particularly in today’s service-based economy. In many cases, an employee with access to an EAP or managed behavioral health program can address a problem before it starts to impact their work.”