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July 27, 2022

How Innovative EAPs Break Down Barriers to Mental Health and Drive Up Utilization

7 minute read

Workplace Wellbeing

Written by

Mandie Conforti, LCSW avatar

Mandie Conforti, LCSW

This is Part 2 of our Innovative EAP blog series.

The traditional EAPs that many companies still have in place aren’t working. 

Programs have low utilization, it’s up to the employee to figure out how to get the right care, and there’s stigma attached to seeking mental health support. 

According to a Gallup survey, the approximate EAP utilization rate across seven global regions is only 2-3%. The survey also found that 42% of employees are more likely to stay at a company if they have access to mental health support through their employer. 

Mental health support has become a global must-have, and providing this benefit to your employees is no longer about checking a box. It’s about raising the bar. Offering an innovative EAP with expanded access to mental healthcare increases utilization while normalizing mental health support. 

Increasing EAP utilization

Spring Health’s utilization is proven to be much higher than the marketplace average of 2-3%.

At Wellstar, within 11 months of switching to Spring Health, their EAP utilization jumped from 2% to 16%. At General Mills, one in four employees are accessing their Spring Health benefit, and 67% are showing mental health improvement overall. 

At KAYAK & OpenTable, 35% of all employees enrolled within the first 10 months of having access to Spring Health, and 18% of all employees outside the U.S. have enrolled. 

In the first six months after partnering with Spring Health, about 25% of DocuSign employees accessed their benefit. In 2021, the national average time to the first available therapy appointment is 25 days. For DocuSign employees, the wait is an average of 1.2 days. 

Wondering how we’re helping companies achieve this level of engagement? 

Personalized care delivery

Employees begin with a clinically validated assessment that takes between 3-5 minutes to complete. After answering the short series of questions, a plan is generated to help them find the best path forward based on where they are today. 

This eliminates the guesswork, and helps each employee find the right care for them, faster. 

We call this approach Precision Mental Healthcare. By applying the same scientific principles behind precision medicine to mental healthcare, we can accurately predict the right treatment for the right person at the right time and ultimately accelerate recovery. 

Comprehensive, end-to-end mental healthcare support

Everyone has different needs. One employee may want to improve his communication skills at work, so his plan could include coaching and digital exercises. 

Another may be noticing increasing anxiety around balancing the need to care for his kids and his aging parents, so recommendations include therapy and work/life referrals for care facilities. 

We make a recommendation based on each employees’ personal, unique needs, and they also gain access to a dedicated Care Navigator, who is a licensed clinician, to support their individualized experience. 

Care Navigators proactively reach out to continually assess how an employee is doing. These results are compared to the initial assessment so we can track symptoms and monitor the employee’s progression.

Using this kind of data allows us to know how to help employees get better faster, and be proactive about improving their quality of life. 

Addressing your employees’ subclinical needs

How often do you greet your kids or partner in the morning by asking how they slept?

Our sleep affects our mood, how we feel, and our productivity, and it’s one of the easiest mental health issues to talk about. 

When an EAP is able to address subclinical needs like sleep, mindfulness, and learning how to slow down, it helps reduce the stigma of getting help, and can also prevent larger mental health issues from developing. 

Moments by Spring Health is a library of clinically validated, digital exercises that can provide immediate relief while helping to create healthy habits—just by taking a few moments out of your day.

These exercises cover over 120 topics, including anxiety, sleep, burnout, parenting, and mindfulness. Employees select how they’re feeling and the best exercises will be recommended for them. 

Preventative services like our weekly check-ins and Moments library can make a big impact on your entire workforce, while ensuring that all levels of mental health needs are met at your organization. 

It’s critical to train your People leaders

After you’ve implemented an innovative EAP, training is one of the most effective ways to equip your People leaders to point their employees to it. 

A difficult part of being a manager is knowing how to help employees when it becomes apparent that they’re struggling, especially when those problems are personal. During these situations, recommending Spring Health as a confidential source of support can be a valuable tool. 

An executive leader at KAYAK & OpenTable shares this: “I’m in leadership with about 75 employees reporting up through me. Before Spring Health, I had zero exposure to therapy or mental health resources in my life. And when an employee opened up to me about what a dark place they were in, I couldn’t do anything more than provide a phone number with no idea of who was going to answer or what the next steps were as a leader.

“[Recently,] I had a coworker mention they needed some help and would probably sign up [with Spring Health] next week. I was able to challenge their excuses for delay, with confidence and experience that I gained through going through the process myself. And I was thrilled when they let me know that their first appointment had been scheduled.” 

Reinforcing that help is available through Spring Health can normalize challenging situations for employees who may be in need of mental health support. 

It’s also important to emphasize the program’s confidentiality, and explain that no information will be shared with the manager or the workplace. Going forward, the manager may want to observe and check in with the employee more often to solve any challenges impacting job duties and determine if additional intervention is needed.

Changing the workplace conversation around mental health

So many of your employees are silently struggling every day. When someone breaks a bone, you see their cast and crutches, but the symptoms of anxiety and depression are often invisible. 

Especially in our virtual world, employees need to know they have a safe space to share their struggles, along with the mental health support they need. It’s become about helping both the employee and the employer, and both elements are equally important. 

An innovative EAP can help transform the mental health stigma and support employees and their families to feel their best. 

“The important thing that’s happened for us over the course of the last year is we have destigmatized mental health,” says Jacqueline Williams-Roll, Chief Human Resources Officer at General Mills. 

“Spring Health actually gave us the platform to start the conversation. You’ve got to get started, and Spring Health was a wonderful way for us to make that initial jump.”

A proven mental healthcare solution

Validation matters, especially when it comes to improving your employee’s mental health. You want a mental health solution that is worth it and proven to work for your organization. 

But most EAPs and mental health companies lack validation, and very few digital health companies have shown that their services are safe and effective for patients, and deliver financial value to customers. 

In fact, a recent study found that only 2.7% of mental health apps actually have primary evidence on the results of their product. And until now, no mental health company has published peer-reviewed evidence of both clinical and financial outcomes for their solution.

A landmark study published in the world’s leading medical journal, JAMA, recently validated Spring Health as the first and only mental healthcare company that actually improves employee mental health while helping to generate significant financial return for employers.

The results speak for themselves:

  • An average of $7,000 saved per employee within 6 months
  • Nearly 70% of participants reliably improving their mental health
  • Fast recovery times with a 5.9-week average time to remission
  • 24% increase in productivity
  • 25% fewer missed work days

This means we can prove that with Spring Health, your employees will feel better faster, making them more productive while your company experiences significant savings.

Learn more about how to enhance or replace your EAP with the most holistic approach to employee wellbeing.

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About the Author

Mandie Conforti, LCSW avatar

Mandie Conforti, LCSW

Mandie currently serves as Senior Director of Employer and EAP Strategy at Spring Health. She has clinical experience in EAP and substance use treatment, and has previously worked as a Behavioral Health Consultant at Willis Towers Watson and Mercer. Mandie spent the last 20+ years working with Fortune 500 companies to promote emotional wellbeing in the workplace. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. Bonaventure University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois. In addition to being certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mandie is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) and is working on her RYT 500.