Researchers found that every dollar spent on South Australia’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is returned threefold, through improved staff absenteeism and performance.

The program costs $409 per employee to run, but researchers found that this investment is more than tripled, with each counselled employee generating ‘fiscal benefits’ of $1365.

“To incorporate the full impact of employee-funded counselling services for teachers, you also have to measure how their good health ultimately benefits student outcomes,” senior author Professor Donald Shepard said.

Flinders University said that the report is the first known controlled benefit-cost analysis of an EAP program.

“The issues at stake here are broad. Most large organisations, both in the US and Australia, have EAP programs, so this research can be applied and will be of interest to many international stakeholders,” Shepard said.

The study found that teachers outside metropolitan Adelaide were considerably less likely to take advantage of EAP services, and recommends that seminars, videos, business cards and other promotional materials be used to proactively promote the program.