An employee assistance program (EAP) can be an impactful workplace benefit, but not all employees will access one in a time of need. One potential but rarely studied barrier to the use of EAPs is perceived stigma. A study by Workreach Solutions investigated the association between worker perceptions of stigma and the likelihood of accessing an EAP for distressing personal problems in a representative sample of employed Canadians (N=1001).
The study concluded that worker perceptions of stigma can be considered a barrier to the use of EAPs, a phenomenon similar to that observed with other psychological or mental health services. Some workers who could benefit from an EAP might choose not to use one due to perceived stigma in relation to receiving help.
A number of actions for employers and/or EAP providers are suggested.
The full report can be accessed here