The Employee Service Program has been a Screening for Mental Health client for more than 15 years. As the EAP for the state of Michigan’s 45,000 employees, their audience is extremely diverse. The program serves many occupations including correction workers, transportation employees, nurses, physicians, human service workers, attorneys, and more. To assist these individuals, the Employee Service Program strongly believes in the benefits of implementing mental health screenings, promoting mental health days of recognition, and proactively connecting with employees around these issues.
Depression affects 9.5% of the adult population and is to blame for 200 million lost workdays each year. Those lost workdays cost employers an estimated 17 to 44 billion dollars. Despite these staggering statistics, only one third of those affected by this common illness will ever seek professional help. Online mental health screenings are proven to help bridge the gap from disorder to treatment for many who may not otherwise receive help.
Mental health screenings provide an assessment of the user’s mental health, information on whether the user’s assessment results are consistent with a mental health disorder, an overview of the signs and symptoms of treatable mental health disorders, and access to local, quality treatment options.
Two representatives from the Michigan organization, Patti Yerke, LMSW, ACSW, Program Manager and Lyndsay Kramer, LLMSW Program Counselor, help to spearhead the program.
Through the initiative, employees are offered voluntary screenings for common mental health concerns including depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and alcohol use disorders. Screenings are anonymous and engage employees in becoming active participants in their own well-being. Upon completion of a screening, employees are provided with immediate results and linked back to EAP, local, or organizational resources.
“Screenings may provide a safe, small step in the right direction,” Patti shares. “For some employees, the anonymous screening and feedback may be all they need; for others it may lead them to seek additional information, clinical assessment and possibly treatment.”
In addition to online screenings, the Employee Service Program also holds mental health awareness events during National Alcohol Screening Day and National Depression Screening Day, utilizing Screening for Mental Health’s program materials at two different locations: Lansing and Detroit. There they set up tables with educational information about mental health, including a brochure promoting screenings.
While they may not see instant results from these efforts, Lyndsay and Patti believe their programs are having a positive effect.
“A person might not reach out to you that day or week, but the idea has been planted. We might hear from them a month or two later and learn that the screening was one of the motivating factors behind their call,” Patti shared.