Are you experiencing a post-holiday let-down? You are not alone, says new Shepell.fgi Research Group Report



    TORONTO, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - Does this time of year leave you feeling
let-down, sluggish and down-right blue? According to The Shepell.fgi Research
Group, and its most recent research report entitled: Post Holidays and the
Broken Promise Effect - an EAP's Perspective, reports of mental health
problems increased in January. Suicidal thoughts increased by twenty seven
percent, feelings of anger augmented to fourteen percent, and depression
increased by seven percent this January. Recently, Psychologist Cliff Arnall
designated Monday, January 22, 2007 as the most depressing day of the year.
Most people have just come out of the holiday season with high expectations
and now that the holiday season is over, these people find themselves dealing
with residual holiday stress. Most are struggling to adhere to New Year's
resolutions, are worrying about receiving post-holiday credit card bills, or
trying to maintain a work-life balance. This can leave us all feeling like we
are fighting for survival during the post-holiday season.
    "It is common for people to think that once the holiday season is over,
so are their stressors," explains Paula Allen, Vice-President of Health
Solutions and The Shepell.fgi Research Group, "but the truth is, January is a
time of residual holiday stress. Our studies reveal that there are fifteen
percent more EAP accesses in January, compared to the rest of the year,
fifty-one percent more than December alone."
    Allen is citing the organization's recent research report entitled: Post
Holidays and the Broken Promise Effect - an EAP's Perspective, which examined
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) access patterns for the month of January of
138,933 employees in 806 organizations.

    
    Key findings of the Report show that:

    -   There are 15% more accesses in January compared to the rest of the
        year (51% more than December alone).
    -   EAP access increases in January impact 75% of presenting problems.
    -   January is associated with more reports of domestic violence (55%
        more) and other social health issues involving care giving (42% to
        50% more), marriage and relationships (10% to 42% more), and family
        (14% to 37% more).
    -   Reports of mental health problems also rise in January, including
        suicidal thoughts and feelings (27% more) anger (12% more) and
        depression (7% more).
    -   Reports of physical health problems such as medical stressors (13%
        more) and weight management (10% more) rise in January.
    -   Other January increases were found for reports of debt and credit
        (39% more), career (28% more), and life transition issues (15% more).
    

    "Social health issues, physical health concerns and mental health
problems all increased in the month of January," says Karen Seward, Senior
Vice-President of Business Development and Marketing at Shepell.fgi.
"Organizations need to recognize this trend and that social, mental and
physical health issues are costly if they are not prevented or properly
treated."
    According to Seward, one of the best strategies that employers can use to
combat post-holiday stress in the workplace is to promote awareness of EAP,
well before, during, and after the holiday season to ensure that the program
is used when needed.
    In order to manage employee health and wellness with a more preventative
approach, the Report offers the following recommendations:

    
    -   Promote EAP awareness among employees throughout the year, both to
        prevent the emergence of post-holiday health problems and reduce the
        January 'rush' to EAP.
    -   Implement year-round employee health and wellness programs that
        provide crucial information to employees, enabling them to manage
        their lifestyles more effectively (e.g., on-site health risk
        assessments).
    -   Leverage the new year as a time of employee renewal and engagement.
        This may involve re-connecting employees to their jobs, re-connecting
        jobs to the vision and strategy, and setting clear performance
        expectations for the rest of the year.
    

    "Organizations that implement these procedures will end up with not only
effective employees," adds Seward, "but a healthier workplace all year round."

    About Shepell-fgi

    Shepell.fgi, the leading provider of prevention-focused Employee
Assistance Programs, also offers an enhanced choice of services that address
physical, mental and social health issues. The company helps organizations
identify the factors and health risks that contribute to their rising benefits
costs and work with clients to create healthier workplaces. Shepell.fgi
services over six million employees and their families across Canada, the
United States and internationally. www.shepellfgi.com





For further information:

For further information: For a copy of the Report: Vicky Kutzmenda,
Events and Public Relations Manager, Shepell.fgi, (416) 961-0023 or (800)
461-9722, (cell (416) 729-5336), vkutzmenda@shepellfgi.com

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