Media - Press Releases

Counselling provided by Unum’s Employee Assistance Programme improves mental health for 92% of users

16th March 2018

Unum has published its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) data for the first time.

  • 70% of the 12,610 callers to the service wanted help with mental health problems, 14% with legal problems and another 14% with practical problems, such as caring responsibilities.

  • 60% of those with mental health issues were offered counselling; 97% were offered an initial appointment within five days; 17,335 counselling sessions were provided; and 92% saw their mental health improve as a result1.

Employee benefits provider Unum has released the success rate of its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in supporting the mental health of UK workers for the first time. Data provided by its partner, LifeWorks, revealed 70% of all calls related to mental health and 92% of those provided with the programme’s counselling support saw an improvement in their condition.

Ambika Fraser, Head of Propositions at Unum commented: “We took the decision to analyse and release these figures to increase awareness of the invaluable support that’s available to hundreds of thousands of UK workers.”

“We’re committed to reducing the stigma around mental health concerns and hope the high success rates will encourage more to seek help when they need it.”

EAPs help employers protect the wellbeing of their staff by providing confidential support with a number of issues including work, legal, relationships, money and health.

Of the 12,610 calls to LifeWorks, Unum’s EAP, 70% wanted help with a mental health problem. Anxiety and depression were the most common of these (66%), followed by problems caused by relationship issues (13%) then bereavement (9%).

60% of those with mental health problems were offered prompt access to counselling services through LifeWorks. 17,355 counselling sessions were provided and 92% of people using them saw their mental health improve. Almost everyone (97%) was offered an initial appointment within five days.

The recent independent review on mental health commissioned by the Prime Minister recommended that all employers with more than 500 employees should provide tailored mental health support, including EAPs2.

Ambika Fraser added: “EAPs are a first line of defence for employers and line managers in protecting the wellbeing of their staff. They provide fast, confidential solutions to all kinds of problems from mental health to debt and relationship worries that could otherwise quickly escalate and impact productivity.”  

Employees can contact the programme by phone, online or through an app. Line managers can also use the service for support in managing team members who are facing problems in their work or personal lives.

There were 12,610 calls during the year and more than a fifth of people (22%) wanted help with a problem serious enough to affect their performance at work. 14% of users wanted help with legal problems and another 14% sought support for a practical problem, such as caring responsibilities.

Women (58%) currently take advantage of the EAP more than men.

While this data relates to calls to the programme, online support was also accessed 74,607 times by employees downloading information on issues such as mental health, money and relationships.

Jamie True, Chief Executive and Founder of Lifeworks, said: We see incredible value in partnering with Unum as they are one of the largest carriers in the world and care about the wellbeing of their users. This collaboration connects LifeWorks to more than 7,000 UK businesses enabling us to support more of the UK workforce.”

Jamie True added: “We live in an interconnected world where well-being is mental, physical and financial. You can’t address one without supporting all. With 1 in 4 people in the UK suffering from a mental health issue this year, it’s now more important than ever to support employees total well-being. That’s where LifeWorks comes in - we use and develop technology to deliver a service and platform that drive real impact to the health and happiness of employees.”




1. Unum’s LifeWorks Statement summarises data on all the support LifeWorks provided by phone in one year, from 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017. In the LifeWorks counselling service, someone is classified as having improved if at the end of their sessions they see an improvement in one or more areas below:

  •  A reduction in their psychological distress
  •  A reduction in the severity of their psychological symptoms
  •  An improvement in their ability to cope with their psychological distress or symptoms
  •  An improved ability to cope with their situation or problems
  •  A reduction in the impact of their psychological issues on their workplace performance, conduct and effectiveness
  •  An improvement in the psychological resilience to the pressures of work and life.

2. Thriving at work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, by The Lord Stevenson of Coddenham CBE, former Chair of HBOS, Paul Farmer CBE, CEO of Mind. The review agreed a set of actions all organisations in the country could implement quickly to protect the mental health of their employees. There were one set of actions for employers off all sizes and an enhanced set for organisations with more than 500 employees. One of the enhanced actions was, “Ensure provision of tailored in-house mental health support and signposting to clinical help, including digital support, employer-purchased Occupational Health or Employee Assistance Programmes, or NHS services, amongst other sources of support. See page 70 of the report for further information.


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact Kelly Spencer, Media Relations Manager, Unum at or +1 423 294 4508


Unum is a leading employee benefits provider offering financial protection including Income Protection, Life insurance and Critical Illness, and corporate dental cover through the workplace. Unum Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.


LifeWorks is a leading employee well-being company offering employee assistance, recognition, community, perks and rewards in one unified mobile-first platform. Unum includes LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program as standard across a range of employee benefits it provides, including group income protection, group critical illness and group life cover.