More than just Healthcare

We live in unprecedented times. As the population continues to soar, people are becoming more socially and geographically mobile with urbanisation and our cities growing rapidly in a way never seen before throughout history. Human ingenuity and technological developments are driving profound change and it is happening at breakneck pace. The world is also becoming more competitive with more people studying harder and longer than ever before, just to join a more competitive job market which demands ever greater contributions and productivity, such that the days of the safe 9-5 job for life can seem like something from a bygone era.

We also live in the modern digital age of the internet and social media, which means that we are better connected than ever before and constantly “on”. It is also an age where we are increasingly able to get credit and easily borrow money for anything we desire, so nothing is beyond our budget and reach. For most people, most of the time, the frenetic pace of the modern world, the opportunities and challenges it presents and the pleasures we are able to take from it, make these exciting and interesting times to live in.

Modern life is however also becoming more hectic, complex and demanding, with time in increasingly shorter supply. For some, and perhaps all of us to an extent at some point, the rate of change, the constant stress and pressure, from work and / or maybe in our personal lives, can weigh heavily and sometimes it can all start to feel like too much. Furthermore, instead of feeling more connected, the constant interaction with screens instead of people can leave us feeling isolated and alone. Add to this the number of people feeling trapped by or struggling with debt, or those who are not eating healthily and taking regular exercise, those pushing too hard and burning out, or the many struggling to balance family life and a career, or even those who are just not getting enough proper sleep… and now on top of it all we are also in the midst of a global pandemic.

At times the pressures, expectations and demands placed on people will start to take their toll on anyone’s well-being and mental health, and this can adversely affect their performance at work. It might not be obvious, as the way a person is feeling is something inside themselves, but the impacts can be long-lasting and significant.

The Problem for Employers

The poor well-being of employees, and poor levels of support from their employers, will adversely affect their performance and work and in turn the performance of any business, mainly through:

  • High Turnover – as a result of an organisation’s culture and attitude towards its employees.
  • Absenteeism – it is estimated that 78% of employees will miss work at some stage due to emotional problems or mental health.
  • Lost Productivity – if a person’s mind not fully on the job, perhaps worrying about their issues.

All these hours and days, across an entire workforce, can quickly add up to be a significant and alarming hidden cost for any business.

The Solution for Employers and Employees

A person’s mental well-being is just as important as their physical health and that is why an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available through our partnership with Lifeworks, a world-leading EAP, to all persons insured through the HanseMerkur Medical Insurance Plans, globally, 24 hours a day, to help deal with a wide range of issues related to Family, Health, Life, Money and Work.

Our EAP covers:

Member Support for emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, stress management, bereavement, personal relationship issues, addictive behaviours, anger management and sleep hygiene.

Member Support for practical issues such as eldercare, childcare, nutritional & weight management, education, relocation, parenting, mid-life & retirement, career and everyday issues.

Legal Support Services:

  • Legal issues include Family, Criminal, Civil, Tenant-Landlord and more

Financial Support Services:

  • Help for any financial issues including Debt / Credit Management, Retirement Planning and more
  • Referrals to experts based on your needs
  • Resources to help with everyday issues

Family Support Services:

  • Resources to help with childcare issues like day-care, education support or maternity / parenting
  • Resources to help with elderly-care issues
  • Consultations with caring professionals
  • Resources to help with everyday issues

Manager Consultations:

  • Support for managers dealing with performance issues, conflict, leadership, communication or mental health concerns

Manager Referrals:

  • Managers can contact support services regarding employee-related workplace concerns and refer employees for counselling

This support is delivered via the following modalities;

  • 24/7 Counselling – immediate telephone support from specialised professionals in counselling, social work, psychology or human services.
  • Virtual Counselling – immediate access to an EAP counsellor through video & phone for confidential and secure virtual sessions.
  • Fact to Face, In Person Counselling – Referrals to the Lifeworks extensive network of master’s level clinical counsellors and affiliates.
  • Digital EAP Content via the LifeWorks online Platform or Mobile App – Articles, podcasts, infographics, toolkits in relation to all of the above topics including online resources for managers.

For some there is unfortunately still a stigma attached to getting help, as if it is somehow an unacceptable sign of weakness and for others some misconceptions about the type of issues help is available for. Counselling and talk therapy can in fact be for anyone and can help in ways people might not expect or have imagined. That is why the EAP we offer is so relevant and also innovative in the way it’s delivered. Unlike traditional EAPs which can be reactive and only used by a small few, our approach is to try and engage with everyone.

Firstly, by giving all members a platform or interface where they can log in and simply see articles and information that they may find useful without the bigger and more daunting effort of making a call and explaining what is wrong, which can be big step into the unknown. This way they can find support but also become comfortable with the service and the type of help available. When surveyed more than 81% of members logging in to the service admitted finding articles useful and relevant to them even if they were not specifically looking for help.

This technology also enables us to take a proactive approach to members’ emotional wellbeing and mental health. For example, COVID-19 will have caused some levels anxiety for almost everyone, particularly many employees must return to their workplaces, even if they might not admit it or actively seek help and advice. We have the ability however to reach everyone via email and pop-up messages in their phones through the App inviting them to check out interesting and useful help articles about this very concerning and relevant topic.

Finally, there is always the freephone number that members can call at any time to access free counselling sessions in total confidence if they feel they need more help with the issues they are facing.

Summary

It is hard to accurately measure the impact of mental health and emotional wellbeing on people and the businesses they work for. It is though undoubtedly a real and significant problem, but the good news is it can be managed and reduced for the benefit of both the employees and the employer through the use of a proper Employee Assistance Program. It also says a lot about a company’s culture and its attitude towards its employees’ well-being which helps to attract and retain the best talent as well as taking care of them and their dependants on all levels making it a must-have win-win feature for the smart and forward-thinking businesses of today.