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EAP cost per employee

EAPs are inexpensive, but only because very few employees ever use them

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How much should proper therapy cost?How much do EAPs cost?Why is EAP usage so low? Support that gets used

Spill costs less per therapy session than an EAP, because 10x more people use it.

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It’s estimated that 1 in 4 adults in the UK and the USA will experience a mental health problem this year. That’s 25% of your employees who are likely to struggle.

We’re going to focus on that 25% to explore the average cost of an EAP, but if we imagine mental health on a big spectrum between being in crisis and absolutely thriving, around 55% of your team will actually find themselves teetering on the mid-low end (read: stressed and tired) at any one time.

Therapy is proven to be an effective solution for people actively experiencing mental health problems. Your team can access online resources and a limited number of counselling and therapy sessions through most EAPs, which usually charge your business per employee, per month, over a contract period of 1-3 years. But do the sums add up? Let’s see.

How much should proper therapy cost, per employee?

Let’s take a company with 100 employees. We’ll call them Piet Depsi. 

🧠 25 of those employees will need mental health support this year. 

🗓 If each of those people completed a course of treatment (6 sessions), that would total 150 therapy sessions over the year. 

💰 Assuming each therapist is paid fairly for their time and experience, a reasonable price per therapy session is £70.

👉 So £70 x 150 sessions / 100 employees / 12 months = a total cost of £8.75 per employee, per month. 

How much do EAPs cost, per employee? 

The price of an EAP is typically set between 40p and £1.25 per employee, per month, depending on the size of your business. That might sound like music to your Finance team’s ears, but it’s a fraction of the money needed to pay for necessary treatment. So, how do they do it? 

Quite simply, the proportion of workers actually interacting with their EAP is very low – and it’s not in an EAP’s interests to boost uptake, either. 

Between 5.4% and 10.4% of employees will typically interact with their EAP in a year. That’s well below the total number of people who need support. And there’s a big difference between “interacting” with an EAP by reading an online resource or calling the helpline, and actually being triaged into therapy sessions. 

Only as few as 5.4% of employees will use their company's EAP in a given year

One study into EAPs in the US cites ‘low’ clinical usage between 1 and 3%, and ‘high’ clinical usage between 6 and 8%. We think that’s a good estimate of the number of people actually accessing any therapy through their EAP. It doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily finished a course of treatment, mind. The same study says that on average people complete just 4 sessions out of 8.

So, EAPs can (and do) build low usage into their pricing models. Let’s go back to Piet Depsi.

👉 £70 a session x 3 employees x completing 4 sessions = £840 annually 

👉 Divide that by 100 employees and 12 months = 70p per employee, per month

If we remember that 25% of people will struggle with their mental health in a year, that’s 22 people in Piet Depsi’s team that need therapy to manage poor mental health who aren’t being supported by their EAP. Not to mention anyone that could use therapy to proactively maintain their mental wellbeing who’s also missing out. 

Why is EAP usage so low?

Traditionally, EAPs put several barriers in place before an employee can talk to a(n expensive) qualified therapist. And bearing in mind lots of people put off seeking help until they really feel quite unwell, any delay can feel like a big mental setback.

If the low, low price of an EAP is starting to lose its shine, we hear you. 

Offer your whole team access to support they’ll actually use

See how much Spill’s proactive mental health support would cost your business. (Full disclosure: it’ll be more than the 70p an EAP might cost, but still less than a monthly social at the pub.) 

  • Access to qualified therapists built straight into Slack or MS Teams
  • Used by 50% of your team on average
  • Book a next-day session or a course of therapy anonymously
  • Get therapist-led manager training and resources
  • Actively track the mood of your team
  • 30-day rolling contract
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