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Nurturing a Healthy Workplace: Supporting Employees Through Substance Use Disorder
Workplace mental health

Nurturing a Healthy Workplace: Supporting Employees Through Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder can harm employees' mental and physical health, and result in absenteeism and reduced productivity at work. How can employers help?

BY 
The Headspace Team
Workplace mental health

Substance use disorder can harm employees' mental and physical health, and result in absenteeism and reduced productivity at work. How can employers help?

Nurturing a Healthy Workplace: Supporting Employees Through Substance Use Disorder

BY 
The Headspace Team

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In the fast-paced landscape of today's workplace, the prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD) among employees demands attention. A staggering 46.3 million individuals in the United States met the criteria for SUD in 2021, with only 6% receiving the necessary treatment, as revealed by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The repercussions of untreated SUD extend beyond individual well-being, impacting employer-sponsored health plans at a cost of $35.3 billion annually and contributing to workplace issues such as absenteeism, presenteeism, and on-the-job accidents.

This stark reality calls for a proactive approach from companies to address SUD within their workforce. Here are a few considerations for organizations to ensure their benefits support employees dealing with SUD:

1. Protect Employee Privacy

Encouraging employees to seek support for SUD in a confidential manner is crucial. Privacy protection helps alleviate the stigma associated with substance use, making it more likely for individuals to consider seeking help. HR personnel should employ confidential and discreet approaches when connecting employees with the necessary care. Internal policies need evaluation to ensure they do not negatively impact those disclosing their SUD needs.

As a part of its comprehensive mental healthcare offering, Headspace connects employees to mental health coaches and clinicians who provide confidential, one-to-one support. This approach extends to guidance for managers and HR teams, fostering an empathetic and discreet method of supporting employees facing substance use problems.

2. Offer Clinically-Validated Care

Early identification of employees with SUD is essential, requiring education, screening, and evidence-based interventions. Headspace ensures its coaches and clinicians are trained in SUD screening, employing a comprehensive approach that assesses substance use frequency, intensity, duration, and onset. The use of ASAM criteria helps determine the appropriate level of care, with a focus on tailored interventions based on individual needs.

3. Low Barrier Approach to Care

Care for employees with SUD should be easily accessible and stigma-free. Headspace employs a low-barrier approach, offering multiple avenues for care, including video, phone, chat, and in-person interactions. This ensures individuals can engage seamlessly, proactively identifying their needs and initiating a treatment plan without the barriers often associated with traditional programs.

4. Reduce Stigma

Despite widespread experiences with alcohol and drug problems, a stigma around SUD persists. HR leaders can play a vital role in reducing stigma by investing in approachable and engaging mental healthcare offerings. Training programs for HR personnel and managers can enhance awareness of substance abuse, fostering better approaches to caring for employees with SUD.

5. Varied Levels of Care and Resources

Recognizing the wide-ranging nature of substance use issues, employees should have access to varied levels of care and resources. Headspace provides a spectrum of interventions, from coaching and therapy to referrals for highly-specialized or in-person care. The platform ensures a continuum of care, supporting employees in their journey from treatment to recovery.

Nurturing a healthy workplace involves prioritizing the well-being of employees dealing with SUD. Companies can make a significant impact by safeguarding privacy, adopting clinically-validated approaches, reducing stigma, and providing easy access to a range of care options. 

Interested in learning more? Read the full guide to supporting employees through SUD here.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text

element allows you to create

uotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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