Karl Bennett, wellbeing director at employee benefits provider Vivup, has been elected to serve as the new chair of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) UK.
He succeeds Eugene Farrell, AXA PPP mental health lead, who has led the national membership organisation since 2019, including the difficult years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bennett worked as a radio announcer before becoming a director of EAP provider Care First from 2005 to 2022.
Bennett said: “I’m looking forward to continuing the amazing work being done by the members and dedicated board of EAPA.
“EAPs have always been seen as an employee benefit — but I believe we are now much more than that, supporting millions of people each year with counselling, professional assessments and psychological therapies, we have become the ‘go-to’ for mental health support for businesses.
“As a sector we need to be encouraging a focus on the preventative elements of our services, adding more non-clinical services like Mental Health Coaching. As a respected body, working hard to promote and develop the employee assistance profession, we also need to lead the discussion around moving EAPs into a longer-term assessment and treatment model, properly equipped with the best practice standards to be the alternative for employees to NHS mental health treatment pathways.”
Outgoing chair Eugene Farrell said: “The past four years have seen a leap in terms of the intensity of demands on EAPs, more volume of calls, more challenges, more complexity as the norm.
“As a sector, we have stood up to those challenges. We’ve adapted to the changing context, introduced digital innovations and made progress on recruiting and training the professional expertise increasingly needed by our clients. Working with a board of committed EAP industry professionals, I’ve been proud to be part of the work being done.”