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Men account for 55% of all EAP counselling calls


Posted on: Tuesday May 14, 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week 13th - 19th May 2019

Men account for 55% of all EAP counselling calls 

Data shows an 84% increase in Employee Assistance helpline calls from men regarding mental health 

Newly released data[i] by Personal Group, a technology-enabled employee services provider in the UK, which includes the provision of an EAP platform via its app Hapi, and Health Assured, reveals that the number of calls from male employees seeking mental health support has increased by 84% (May 2018 versus April 2019), compared to a 6% increase in calls from female employees over the same period.

Whilst this could be seen as a negative indicator of worsening mental health amongst male employees in the UK, the increase in men seeking mental health support could also be viewed as a positive indicator of a shift in both the awareness and acknowledgement of male mental health struggles.

The risks to men’s overall health, mental and physical, are compounded further by their reluctance to seek help. Research shows that, as well as being less likely than women to seek help for a mental health problem, they are less likely to visit a GP, attend an NHS health check, or visit a pharmacy[ii].

With a client base of traditionally non desk-based employees who are on the move most of the day, and often without access to a work computer or company intranet, Personal Group have seen first-hand the impact an employee app can have on the usage of wellbeing-related employee benefits. Having access to support in private, via a mobile phone, has driven usage amongst mid-life, industrial sector male employees, traditionally a hard-to-reach group.

While typically women are more likely to access support via an EAP (usual usage is 63% female,37% male usage[iii]), male usage amongst Personal Groups clients’ employees sits at over 50%. Interestingly, Personal Group’s client data shows that at weekends male staff were 25% more likely than female staff to access employee assistance services between 1am and 5am. Increased accessibility to support, whenever and wherever employees need it, undoubtedly has an impact in its usage.

Over the past 12 months, Personal Group clients’ male employees made 21% more general helpline calls than female employees, and the volume of calls specifically about mental health received from male employees seeking help was 30% higher than the number of calls received from female employees. Personal Group provides EAP as part of its suite of wellbeing benefits to support employee engagement, wellbeing and happiness.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, this data reinforces the rising mental health issues faced by men in the UK. With calls from men about depression, low mood and anxiety (the top three counselling call categories) out-numbering the next nine counselling categories combined, the value of accessible mental health support for men cannot be underestimated.

This increase in men and women seeking help could be a reassuring sign for employees and employers.

Deborah Frost, Chief Executive of Personal Group commented: “Technology is a key area where HR and business leaders can make a positive impact on the UK’s mental health by increasing employee access to confidential support, both while employees are at work and when they are at home. Employers must make more effort to reach employees when and where they are most in need of help, often outside of the workplace, when they are alone, whether this be via the traditional phone support or via a mobile app.  More diverse and geographically spread workforces are harder to reach by traditional, desk-based intranet wellbeing services. We believe it is now more important than ever that the entire workforce knows where they can go for help and that there is 24/7 access to care. Our data proves the positive impact that providing private, ‘always-on’ support can bring to employee wellbeing”

“Employee Assistance Programmes, implementing mental health first aiders, providing access to counselling and a well-rounded benefits package provide genuinely life-changing solutions that support employees and their loved ones when they need it most. Encouragingly, today’s data shows us that employee platforms and apps that make mental health support more easily accessible can compound the success of the traditional EAP and counselling outcomes, having a more positive impact on individuals’ wellbeing and engagement at work.”

Other results from the research include;

  • A 110% increase in Employee Assistance Programme helpline calls regarding mental health from March 2018 to April 2019
  • Men account for more than 55% of all Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) counselling calls, and of these calls, 43% relate to poor mental health concerns
  • In the last twelve months, there has been a 48% increase in Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) helpline
  • The EAP service received 21% more helpline calls from male employees than female employees during the period (March 2018 – April 2019)
  • The volume of calls about mental health received from male employees seeking help was 30% higher than the number of calls received from female employees (March 2018 – April 2019).  
  • Legal concerns made up 15% of all calls from men, the next highest after mental health, and work issues followed (10%).
  • Workplace stress was the main driver of work-related calls from men, accounting for more than 60% (62%) of all work-related calls, followed by bullying/harassment at almost 11%.
  • Men aged between 40-49 years old used the service the most (26%) and the most common time for calling was between 10am and 2pm during weekdays.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of those engaging in structured therapy were already in work which.
  • Amongst Personal Group’s clients’ employees who use the counselling services, there has been a 13% increase in workplace engagement and 28% improvement in life satisfaction.

[i] *A total of 6330 calls made to the Employee Assistance Programme from 1st May 2019 to the 20th April 2019

[ii] The Work Foundation November 2018



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