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The Journalist’s Resource, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University

May 24, 2022

Insurance makes seeking mental health care more affordable for those who have it, but workers often have access to an additional form of help at no cost: employee assistance programs.

By Clark Merrefield

The Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires that health insurers provide the same coverage for mental health treatment as they do physical health care.

While a variety of factors, including a shortage of mental health professionals in some parts of the U.S., have made the goals of the federal law easier said than done, there is at least one other avenue for many Americans to seek mental health treatment: employee assistance programs.

Employee assistance programs are free for workers, paid for by employers and often staffed by counselors who are either contractors or company employees themselves. Counselors often have at least a master’s degree in a relevant field, such as psychology, and may also be certified by the International Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

These programs may offer trained professionals to talk with employees about immediate mental health or substance use challenges, or they may provide a more holistic approach, including providing referrals to outside mental health professionals and helping workers through the process of securing longer-term care.

Read more here at The Journalist’s Resource.

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