Women, younger workers access EAP online

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Younger working Canadians and women are using digital methods to access EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) support more than ever before, according to a new report from Morneau Shepell. The company looked at who exactly is seeking help and how they get it in a study of its clients across Canada.

Read: Are you clients missing out on the benefits of wellness?

Morneau Shepell's new research report—'The digital age: How people are accessing EFAP services"—examined demographic data for use of digital and traditional (non-digital) EFAP services from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. The demographic data of people accessing all EFAP channels was then compared to data from 2010 and 2011.

According to the research:

  • Young users (18 to 39-year-olds) are increasingly accessing their EFAP for support.
  • Younger people (18 to 29-year-olds) access EFAP services and programs through digital channels more often.
  • More women than men use digital access.

"Our research shows us that we are able to reach a younger demographic with digital access and service delivery options," said Barb Veder, vice-president, clinical services, Shepell∙fgi, a Morneau Shepell brand.

"This trend will increase. In the digital age, it is critical to provide individuals with the care and support they need, when they need it, and through the method they can best interact with and relate to. We think this information will help human resource professionals understand the demographics and impact of EFAP digital channels."

"We also know that women use Facebook more than men while men prefer Twitter and instant messenger services," she said. "Men, however, spend more time online than women—20 hours per week compared to 16 hours per week. As for organizations, 70% are now using social technologies, and of those that do, 90% say they derive some benefit from it."

Read: Morneau launches new counselling app feature

Citing Morneau Shepell's own digital/online services, Veder said the 20-to-39 demographic prefers live online counselling. "Online counselling can provide a forum for those who might otherwise not access traditional forms of professional mental health support. This can be due to travel time, availability for appointments, perceived stigma in seeking help, lack of mobility or transportation, and verbal communication challenges," she said.

Read: EAPs may ease costs of mental health

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