Employee Assistance Programs, more commonly known as EAPs, are widely offered as part of employee benefit packages as a work-based intervention program. Although initially introduced as an alcoholism rehabilitation program in the late 1930s, EAP programs became more mainstream in the 1980s, expanding to include services to help families with marital, financial, legal, and mental health concerns. The goal for EAPs from the 1980s to today is to help minimize the influence of personal issues by providing tools to help employees cope and heal, while at the same time making it easier to access services, especially through digital solutions.

Even with the long history of EAP, far too many employees aren’t aware of what the program can do to help them or how to access benefits. A study from Mental Health America found that nearly all mid-to-large companies offer EAPs, but only 4% of employees use them.1

Employees often feel uneasy about utilizing EAP programs because of the stigma associated with mental health support. Others turn away from the service due to long wait times for a therapist or difficulty accessing care.2 If your employees are missing out on the valuable benefits of EAP, we have tips to help improve EAP usage, provide digital solutions that meet employees where they are, and encourage a healthy workplace.

Tips to Make EAP Matter

Reduce Stigma

Employers can provide resources for employees to learn more about mental health. This will help spread awareness and educate the workforce about mental health, how it affects people’s lives, and what they can do about it. Leaders and managers should work to show empathy for employees experiencing the effects of mental illness and encourage EAP usage.

Offer multiple ways to access EAP

There’s more to EAP than a trip to a therapist’s office. Modern EAP programs often offer digital programs, group coaching on-site, telehealth appointments, and more. When solutions are quick, affordable, and easy to access, more employees will use them.

Communicate your EAP offerings

Years of communication research have found that individuals need to see or hear a message at least seven times before they act on it. Additionally, if your employees aren’t currently experiencing issues that EAP can help solve, they may subconsciously filter out the message. The key is to overcommunicate EAP offerings. Mention EAP programs often in company newsletters, team meetings, stand-ups, Intranet pages, and stand-alone emails. Here at Uprise Health, we have a team of dedicated Client Success managers who help employers with internal communication materials that will support their staff.

Onboard appropriately

Big-ticket benefits like paid healthcare, time off, or unlimited snacks may take precedence during onboarding, but EAP is just as important. Make sure you spend time with new employees introducing the EAP, how to access it and what’s covered. If necessary, help them set up accounts or become acclimated to digital EAP tools before they finish their onboarding process.

Encourage EAP usage from the top

Employees look to their leaders to guide their work and establish business goals, but the guidance doesn’t stop there. Encourage leaders to keep EAP top-of-mind, discuss the benefits with transparency, and encourage them to utilize the services themselves.

Improving EAP usage with modern tools

Everything is digital these days, and EAPs are no exception. Digital EAP solutions offered through Uprise Health not only help provide access and coaching tools, mental health check-ins, daily mental health exercises, and self-guided therapy. The expansion beyond traditional therapy gives employees with modern EAP benefits the chance to work through mental health challenges wherever and from any device.

Mental health is health, and digital EAP solutions are essential to giving employees the support they deserve. Learn how an organization increased their EAP usage by 161% with Uprise Health Digital tools by downloading our recent case study: The Ōnin Group: Uprise Health EAP Tools Improve Employee Wellbeing.


  1. https://mhanational.org/how-can-we-promote-our-eap-increase-its-usage
  2. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/why-don-t-employees-use-company-mental-health-benefits.html