Study shows people who have never before used an employee assistance
program are reaching out for support using First Chat
TORONTO, June 19, 2012 /CNW/ - People like receiving Employee Assistance
program (EAP) counselling through a text-based chat service, according
to a new study released by Morneau Shepell under its Shepell•fgi brand.
First Chat, which was launched in September 2011, is the first live EAP
counselling service. It connects employees and their family members
with qualified counsellors for private and immediate clinical support
via chat technology.
The study sampled data from 407 chats, taken from December 5, 2011 to
January 31, 2012. Post-chat surveys were also conducted with a group of
95 randomly selected respondents to determine their levels of
satisfaction with the service.
According to the study:
94 percent of users surveyed felt comfortable using chat as a clinical
84 percent said they received relevant information that helped address
87 percent would recommend chat counselling to others; and
65 percent were employees who had never accessed EAP services before.
User feedback has been positive, with individuals finding chat
counselling a great way to communicate "…especially, for those whose
English is [a] second language, who is [sic] shy, or nervous," with
many preferring it to telephonic conversation. Users also expressed
satisfaction with their counsellor's level of knowledge and service,
having "… covered all that I wanted to cover for a first session
"With First Chat, the client benefits from text-based, written
communication," says Barb Veder, Clinical Director, Shepell•fgi. "It
provides instant access to clinical intervention via computer or
tablet. The client can also see their discussion with the counsellor in
black and white, and refer back to the text at any time for further
Chat counselling overcomes concerns about stigma, privacy and
confidentiality, lack of mobility or transportation, verbal
communication, and social phobias.
"First Chat is an invaluable resource for users who need or desire
private, immediate clinical support from a counsellor," says Rita
Fridella, Senior Vice-President, Operations and Chief Clinician,
Shepell•fgi. "We are seeing an increase in a younger demographic
reaching out to their EAP for help. This reaffirms our commitment to
create and deliver innovative solutions for the new generation of EAP
Findings of the Shepell•fgi report will be presented at Medicine 2.0'12, a conference that celebrates
social media, mobile apps, and the Internet/Web 2.0 in medicine and
public health. It takes place at Harvard Medical School on September 15
For the full report, including key considerations when purchasing an EAP
service, visit: shepellfgi.com. First Chat is currently available to all clients, employees, and their
family members in Canada through: workhealthlife.com.
About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is the largest Canadian-based firm offering consulting
and outsourcing services for workforce programs. The company works with
clients to develop innovative solutions that integrate with their
business strategies to achieve results. Through Health and Benefits
Consulting, Pension Consulting, Health Management, Administrative
Solutions, and Shepell•fgi Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), Morneau
Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and
improve their competitive positions by supporting their employees'
financial security, health and well-being.
Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves over 8,000 clients, ranging
from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and
associations in North America. With approximately 2,500 employees in
offices across North America, we provide services to organizations
across Canada, in the United States and around the globe.
Morneau Shepell Inc. is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock
Exchange (TSX). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.
SOURCE Morneau Shepell Ltd.
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