How an EAP Can Help Your Employees Get Through and Overcome Personal Issues That Affect Their Performance at Work


Employees are finding it harder than ever to balance life inside and outside of work. Finding a good balance between work, family, finances, and a personal life can be quite the handful. While it is a journey and takes time to learn how to master work-life balance, an EAP will help you and your team get there. Giving your employees resources to help shows them that you care, and when used, has proven results on productivity and focus. This way, your team will grow and learn without the distractions or overwhelming sense of pressure that results from unresolved personal issues. We hope to highlight the benefits of choosing an EAP that is the most experienced in dealing with the broad-spectrum of potential employee issues that exist. This, in turn, will help you build a thriving and healthy work environment. Below are some statistics involving personal employee issues within the workplace and how to spot them.


Depression, Grief, and Suicide in the Workplace 

According to MHA | Mental Health America, depression ranks among the top three workplace problems. It is common that employees are completely unaware that they have depression, so it’s very important as an employer to look out for signs. Grief is another personal issue that many employees experience over time, especially after losing a loved one, a major life event such as getting a divorce, or even losing someone to suicide. According to Psychiatric Times, 40% of grievers meet the criteria for major depression one month after their loss, falling to 24% after two months. Therefore, having a plan in place early on is of the utmost importance. Finally, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the suicide rate continues to rise ( We truly need our coworkers, both for support and to offer the appropriate resources for assistance, be it while at work or at home

Question: An employee took her own life a few weeks ago. Everyone was in total shock. There was no warning, yet many of us believe some clue could have been missed. The EAP was great, met with us, and offered guidance. Is there anything else I should be doing at this time?*

Answer: The death of a coworker is always a shock, and it’s worse when it is unexpected. “Grief leadership” describes the manager’s role or that of anyone who leads with organizing, communicating, memorializing the employee, interacting with the family, and dealing with the logistics of the deceased’s personal effects. Every employee is different in how he or she will manage grief, and none of it is predictable. Be direct, let employees know you recognize this fact, and encourage them to use the EAP at any time. Listen for complaints of sleeplessness, diminished appetite, and intrusive thoughts about the deceased. Allow some freedom for employees to gather and process the deceased when you see these groups spontaneously appear. No matter what, you are a role model to your employees. They are highly cognizant of how you act and respond to an incident of this nature. What you do and say will be remembered and will influence how they decide to cope with the loss.*


How to Spot Employee Behavior That Could Lead to Issues in the Workplace 

The best thing you can do as an employer is to be familiar with all the signs of depression, grief, suicide, and personal issues within your team. It’s also vital to know what to do if a critical incident occurs in your workplace and how to handle it properly. Some signs that your employees could be dealing with grief or depression are persistent sadness, weight loss, loss of energy, and difficulty concentrating. Worse, these can be precursors to suicidal thoughts, which is a very serious symptom of depression. Pay close attention to the first signs of depression and always refer the employee to the EAP. At times, it can be hard to spot suicidal behaviors, but people with a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or chronic illness are more at risk. Watch employees that you know have struggled in these areas, and keep tabs on them to make sure they are doing well and improving. We all struggle in and outside of the workplace at times, and it’s vital that we stay together and are never isolated from one another. Even if you are not 100 percent sure you see a sign, ask the person how they are doing. If it’s nothing, at least they know you care!

Question: In the 23 years that I have been a supervisor, I have never seen an employee with depression. Aren’t they supposed to look sad, dejected, or down in the dumps? I’ve read there are millions of adults with depression. So what am I missing?*

Answer: You are describing symptoms of sadness or the blues, but not necessarily what you would witness at work. Depressed employees can remain hidden because stereotypical views of depression don’t match what most people see. Depressed people are not necessarily sad, weepy, slumped at their desk, or looking down in the dumps. More typically, those with major depression experience feelings of emptiness that don’t go away. They may exhibit extreme irritability over seemingly minor things, suffer with anxiety, restlessness, or anger management issues, or may simply not want to participate in activities others leap to enjoy. They may focus on past unsettling events, things that have gone wrong, and their failures. About 17 million adults nationwide suffer with major depression. The good news is that major depression is highly treatable. The medical community has worked hard to help the general public understand that depression is not something people can snap out of with encouragement from friends who tell them to cheer up. We all experience sadness, but major depression is a mood disorder, a true brain disease. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)*


Benefits of Our EAP That Can Help with These Issues 

Not only can an EAP help walk your employees through personal issues that everyone faces from time to time, but it can also” help them to be more productive at work. Research shows that the severity of depression is directly connected to a loss of productivity. Without resolving personal issues, it will always overflow into the workplace, knowingly or unknowingly. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling to your employees as well as access to telephonic consultations, assessments, referrals, and more. Our EAP also offers Critical Incident Response Services to you as an employer. Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a comprehensive, integrative, multicomponent crisis intervention system that spans the entire temporal spectrum of a crisis. You can learn more about it here.

Lastly, we offer case managers to help you and your managers learn how to recognize, observe, document, and take action as employee situations arise. We have an abundance of tools and resources included in our Employee Assistance Program to better your management team and your work environment. A healthy team is a strong and long lasting team!

Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.

* Copyright ©2019 by DFA Publishing & Consulting, LLC.


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