Talkspace digital EAP seeks to reinvent decades old benefit

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Online therapy provider Talkspace has launched a digital employee assistance program offering online therapy and a range of well-being solutions to support employees amid a time where access to remote services is critical.

“The goal of the digital EAP is to reinvent and introduce people to an extremely user friendly set of services, but its utilization in most places has been below 1%,” says Mark Hirschorn, chief operating officer and president of TalkSpace. “Our goal is to get [employees] to use these products to enhance their health and lifestyle.”

The program offers resources including online therapy, in which an employee can be matched with a therapist and begin sessions on the same day. Counseling can be done via messaging and live video sessions. Employees will also have access to self-guided cognitive behavioral therapy wellness tools and exercises. Experts will offer financial and legal guidance, and provide educational content.

The digital EAP program from Talkspace had been in the works for years, Hirschorn says, but Talkspace decided to accelerate its roll out in an effort to get employees access to digital wellness tools during coronavirus. Hirschorn’s own experience with the coronavirus in early March drove home the need for such a tool.

Employee Assistance Programs are offered by just 32% of organizations, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. However, when properly implemented and promoted, EAPs can provide in-demand resources and help employers stay competitive, Hirschorn says.

“Our clients over the years tell us that their investments in programs to engage and ensure that employees are more invested in their mental health in addition to their physical health is something employers believe is part of their responsibility,” Hirschorn says. “But it's also table stakes as the job market is so competitive.”

Making EAP offerings digital also solves some of the issues of a typical EAP offering, Hirschorn says, like ease of use and employee engagement.

“A digital EAP can generate very different and positive results and perform in a way that an EAP should have been performing for years,” Hirschorn says. “These are benefits that have really gone under utilized in the past, but can be so helpful to employees moving forward.”

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