Mental Health Programs for Federal Employees

FPCD-81-15: Published: Mar 17, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1981.

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The loss in Federal productivity because of mental health problems, such as alcoholism, can be considerable. Information was obtained on what mental health programs a sample of Federal agencies are providing their employees and, where possible, on the success of these programs.

The primary mental health program available to Federal employees is counseling services for alcohol and drug abuse problems. In addition, most agencies provide some counseling for a wide range of emotional problems. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recommended that agencies implement a broad-based counseling program for emotional, marital, financial, and legal problems, as well as for alcohol and drug abuse. Many of the agencies visited had not formally adopted the recommended broad-based program. OPM has not published standards or set goals that can serve as indicators of a successful agency mental health counseling program. In addition, recent OPM evaluations and a prior GAO report have revealed management problems in various aspects of mental health program implementation. However, many agencies have reported to OPM that the mental health counseling services they provide are helping employees resolve their problems and return to an acceptable level of performance on the job.

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