More than a quarter of employees go home to active addiction

Executive director of Heritage CARES explains how HR leaders can help struggling employees and their families

More than a quarter of employees go home to active addiction

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on not only on people’s mental health, but also their physical wellbeing.

Nearly one-third of people in the United States who drink alcohol have increased their consumption since the pandemic began, according to a study by LifeWorks and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Nearly 30% of drug users reported an increase, as well.

Watch: How HR leaders can help employee wellbeing

Even if you’re employees don’t fall into those categories, chances are someone they live with does. Roughly 26% of employees report that they're going home to active addiction – people actively struggling with a substance use disorder, according to Heritage CARES, a virtual support program that helps those struggling with mental health, stress, suicidal ideation and substance misuse. The program offers certified peer coaches who walk participants through their recovery journey, alongside an extensive educational video library and a care management platform.

“Those folks are stressed out beyond belief,” Rich Jones, executive director of Heritage CARES, told HRD. “They're at their computers or they're at their station or doing whatever their job is, but they're not mentally there.”

Jones knows this from personal experience. He went through a similar situation with his daughter, which significantly impacted his work. After all, it’s tough to focus on your job when you’re going through something so troubling at home. That’s why companies that offer supportive services to employees need to expand those benefits to employees’ family members, too.

“Many times it's the family member that has your employee off his or her game,” Jones says. “If you want to get the most out of your business in terms of productivity and the bottom line, you have to get support for these family members because we're just suffering in silence. You get only 50% at best of the worker when they're going through something like this.”

Learn how HR leaders can bring up these difficult conversations with struggling employees in Jones’ interview with HRD TV.

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