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Sharp rise in people seeking digital counselling

Pam Whelan

The number of employees using digital counselling services to support their mental wellbeing has more than doubled in a year, according to Simplyhealth, the UK’s leading health plan provider. Contributor Pam Whelan, Director of Corporate – Simplyhealth.

Statistics from Simplyhealth’s own Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) data shows the number of employees using online counselling sessions, in the form of video link appointments, offered through Simplyhealth’s health plans more than doubled in 2018, compared to the previous year. 

While the overall number of counselling and advice calls has increased slightly with a 6 percent rise year on year respectively, the number of face to face to counselling sessions held fell by 15 percent in 2018 as service users seek less traditional methods of accessing support.

Calls to the EAP number from employees seeking advice for mental health issues rose by a quarter (24 percent) in 2018, and calls relating to financial queries increased by 29 percent, highlighting the key areas of concern for the employees of today. The data also reveals that the largest growth in calls were related to civil issues (84 percent), followed by eldercare (61 percent) and then childcare (55 percent).

Pam Whelan, Director of Corporate at Simplyhealth, said: “It’s really encouraging to see from the data that employees are proactively looking after their mental wellbeing and engaging with their EAP. 

“Technology offers great opportunities for employers to offer wellbeing support through an increased number of access channels and our data shows there is demand with the number of online counselling sessions doubling in just one year. Traditional face-to-face counselling can be daunting for some people; using digital technology such as video calling, offers great ‘in the moment’ support and enables employees to engage with it at a time and place that is most convenient for them.” The EAP data also reveals the amount of employees who returned to work after therapy increased by 4.8 percent from 2017 to 20181. 

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