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© 2019 University of Maryland School of Social Work

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This article examines an age-old problem, sexual assault, through the lens of its occurrence within the military culture. Specific cases as well as Department of Defense responses to better handle these issues are offered to educate psychiatric mental health nurses of the potential differences in symptomatology and presentation of MST. It is clear that this fact appears to be an increasing problem with the predicted cohort of returning Veterans appearing both in the VA system as well as in civilian locations, hospitals, community centers and especially the workplace. It will be critical to develop training materials and pursue further research to identify this silent syndrome of MST in order to better meet the needs of our returning Veterans.

It is common practice in many professions, fields and industries to disseminate benchmarking information. Absent this vital resource an individual company cannot accurately evaluate their performance against a similar cohort and therefore must rely upon anecdotal information. The findings of this study address this deficiency in the external Employee Assistance Program (EAP) field by reporting publicly available empirically derived benchmarking data for external providers of EAP services. During 2012 the National Behavioral Consortium conducted a survey that collected data from 82 external EAP vendors primarily located in the United States and Canada. The survey included a total of 44 items organized into eight categories: (1) Company Profile; (2) Staffing; (3) Customer Profile; (4) Utilization Metrics; (5) Survey Tools and Outcomes; (6) Business Management; (7) Business Development; and (8) Forecasting the Future of EAP. The survey respondents included companies that ranged in size from local providers to global business enterprises. The combined customer base represented by these vendors included over 35,000 client companies and over 164 million total covered lives. Results reveal a wide range between vendors on almost all of these factors. Primary findings for utilization include an average case level utilization rate of 4.5% of the covered employee population using the EAP for counseling in the past year (median of 3.6%), with an average of 2.5 counseling sessions delivered per each case. Counseling services were also the most common type of service provided by EAPs, accounting for over 90% of all EAP-related services provided when also considering the use levels for organizational services. In addition to EAP services, 75% of vendors also offered work/life and 49% also offered workplace wellness as “primary” services. Comparisons between smaller and larger market vendors revealed some differences whereas comparisons between countries had few differences. Select benchmarks were also explored between vendors with different pricing models. The role of the Human Resources department at client organizations and product pricing were important themes for business management. Implications for operational practices are discussed along with considerations for future research.

Despite significant investment in behavioral health services by work organizations, the evidence-base supporting such services is lacking. Recent health care policy and delivery changes, such as those resulting from the Affordable Care Act in the United States, highlight the need for rigorous studies on such workplace behavioral health services and the employee assistance (EA) programs and professionals that deliver them. This paper proposes a new framework to promote and organize such research for the U.S. and around the world. The framework is partly informed by input from EA professionals and researchers, collected in a group meeting and a quantitative survey. The framework encourages collaboration across five stakeholder groups: work organizations, EA professionals, researchers, educators of EA professionals, and funding agencies that can support new studies. Specific recommendations (“calls to action”) are provided to these stakeholders to help promote and align EA studies with the broad field of public and global health (including the disciplines of workplace health promotion, occupational health, and organizational studies). 

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