Employers, think beyond mental wellness

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In a recent study, Statistics Canada revealed that the rates of substance use disorders are higher than the rates of mood disorders.

Shame is the biggest hurdle faced by employees. Rather than seeking help, their behavior at work results in absenteeism and decreased productivity. If the employer is not asking the right questions, the situation could result in disciplinary action and, ultimately, termination of employment.

Re-hiring is costly and time consuming for employers.

A bad hire can cost the employer 4 times the employee’s annual salary. Therefore, it’s much more beneficial for employers to retain their staff. There are also many things employers can do to provide support to their employees as opposed to reverting back to discipline and writing warnings.

Be mindful.

Most employers miss the signs of addiction. The signs are subtle, so that’s understandable. Look for bloodshot eyes or a residual alcohol smell. Other signs may include missing work or coming in late and leaving early. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence publishes this list of common signs. 

Talk about it.

Choose a date to promote addiction awareness. Invite an expert to talk to your employees during lunch or ask an employee with a story on addiction to share it with your staff. You can also have a confidential phone line for employees. There are many ways to entice your employees to talk about their problems. Build awareness by putting up posters at the workplace. Here is an example:

addiction  Source: DrugAbuse.com

Rather than creating a culture of punishment, be aware and attentive to your employees’ mood and behavior. Embrace addiction as a disease rather than stigmatize it. It’s a win-win formula!


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