Analysis of Global EAP Data Reveals Huge Rise in Depression, Stress, and Anxiety Over Past Three Years

Raleigh, N.C. (Dec. 16, 2015) – Employee mental health is an issue that impacts the ultimate success of every business on the planet. And a new analysis of three years’ worth of global EAP data shows a dramatic increase in the number of employees who are reporting serious mental and emotional health concerns.

Workplace Options, the world’s leading provider of integrated employee well-being services, recently examined a set of data encompassing a relatively stable population of more than 100,000 employees across Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America to evaluate global trends in the use of its Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). The data represented all EAP inquiries made by this group from 2012-2014.

While the number of cases dealing with personal emotional health issues remained relatively constant across all three years, instances of employee stress, anxiety, and depression each rose at an alarming rate. Some of interesting findings of the analysis are as follows:

  • About 4 out of every 10 cases over the three year period were related to personal emotional health issues (42 percent in 2012; 38 percent in 2013; 42 percent in 2014)
  • The number of cases dealing with employee depression increased 58 percent between 2012 and 2014.
  • The number of cases dealing with employee anxiety increased 74 percent.
  • The number of cases dealing with employee stress increased 28 percent.
  • Combined, employee depression, stress and anxiety accounted for 2 percent of all emotional health cases in 2012 compared to 82.6 percent in 2014.

“Serious mental health issues can have a devastating effect on organizations around the world,” said Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. “What this analysis means for businesses around the world is that if your employees’ emotional well-being wasn’t already on the top of your list of priorities, it needs to be.”

Interpreting the Data

The sharp rise in instances of depression, anxiety, and stress could be attributed to a number of different factors.

“The red flag here for the business community is the nature of the calls and inquiries that we are getting from across the world,” Debnam explained. “while the percentage of cases dealing with personal emotional health issues is relatively unchanged, the issues we’re dealing with has become much more severe over the past three years.”

“This can mean a couple of different things,” he continued. “More and more employees across the world are obviously struggling with very serious emotional health issues, but the silver lining is that among those struggling, more and more appear to be willing to reach out for help.”

 Regional Trends

A regional breakdown of the analysis shows a significant increase in the number of reported cases dealing with anxiety, depression, and stress in all regions of the world over the past three years. The chart below shows more specific information:

Percentage Increase in Reported Emotional Health Issues Between 2012-2014
Region Depression Stress Anxiety
Asia 73.0% 20.1% 32.1%
EMEA 41.7% 27.1% 84.2%
N. America 25.6% 32.7% 71.2%
Central and South America 55.3% 40.9% 22.9%

Other Outcomes of the Analysis

The number of employees seeking financial assistance from their EAP increased slightly over the three year period. Just over 4 percent (4.1) all cases dealt with financial assistance inquires in 2012 compared with slightly more than 6 percent (6.1) in 2014.

Employees seeking legal referrals were also on the rise – they accounted for 10.4 percent of all cases in 2012 compared with 14.8 percent in 2014.

More about the Examined Employee Population

The employee population analyzed for this effort represented employees from five different organizations. Each employer had employees in at least 4 of the 5 regions (Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America) access EAP services every year from 2012-2014, and the aggregate utilization rate for employees in each relevant region was between 3 and 9 percent.

“This is one of the first analyses that details the changing way employees across the world are using their EAP programs,” Debnam said. “The issues we help people through today are far different than they were in the past – and businesses around the world need to carefully consider whether they have the right support structures in place that will allow their employees to prosper.”

For more information about Workplace Options, visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and well-being services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Portugal, France, Canada, Singapore, Japan, India, and Indonesia support more than 48 million employees in over 56,000 organizations, across more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit