10 ways employers can support behavioral health
Not all employees are embracing healthy habits to cope with quarantine — many are turning to destructive behaviors, and it’s hurting their employers.
Working Americans are increasingly suffering from behavioral health issues during the pandemic, including mental health issues and substance abuse. This can have a disastrous impact on productivity, said Dan Jolivet, a workplace consultant at financial services company The Standard, during a virtual session of the Disability Management Employer Coalition annual conference.
“A third of employees reported they were not productive for half the workweek because of their mental health issues — and this was before the pandemic,” Jolivet said. “It’s becoming much worse as more people are turning to substance abuse to cope.”
Eighty percent of employees reported feeling moderately or highly distressed due to the pandemic, according to a survey by The Standard. One out of five of these respondents reported turning to prescription drugs to cope with the stress, while one out of seven used illicit drugs. But the most common substance abuse disorder in the U.S. continues to be alcohol abuse, Jolivet said. In April, online alcohol sales skyrocketed by 500% compared to last year, according to the American Addiction Centers. One-third of U.S. workers even admitted to drinking while working from home.
“The pandemic has really exasperated these issues, and employers need to be part of the solution,” Jolivet said. “We spend such a significant amount of time at work that [employers] have the opportunity to make a significant impact. And from a business standpoint, it makes sense for them to address productivity loss.”
Jolivet shared 10 strategies employers can adopt to help their workforce overcome behavioral health issues so they can bring their best selves to work.