Employee assistance programs offered through online forums can help to overcome concerns about stigma, privacy and confidentiality, says Morneau Shepell.
In September 2011, Shepell•fgi launched a text-based EAP called First Chat, which connects employees with counsellors for clinical support via chat technology.
The company recently studied sample data from these chats, and surveyed program participants in order to assess the program’s success. According to Morneau Shepell, the results have been positive. Of those surveyed, 94% said they felt comfortable using chat as a clinical counselling service, and 87% said they would recommend chat counseling to others.
Morneau Shepell says that chat counselling can also make EAP services more accessible to employees who may have a lack of mobility or transportation, difficulty with verbal communication, and social phobias.