For some time now, the American workforce has dealt with mental illness and substance misuse. A recent study released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) revealed that mental illness and substance use issues are at the highest level in two years. How are employers and employees affected?
Substance Misuse and the Effect on the Workplace
The latest statistics from the majority of American employers showed that substance use and mental health issues are at high levels. In the IFEBP study, 60 percent of employers said that their employees are very stressed and that stress is at higher levels than it was just two years ago.
The study revealed that American workers experience both substance use and mental health disorders, also called co-existing conditions. HR Dive says that the study was designed not only to reveal the extent of these diseases in the workplace today but also to determine the level of health insurance benefits and how employers can help those with substance use disorders or mental health issues.
The top five conditions recognized by employers in the study included:
- Alcohol addiction
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Prescription drug addiction or other substance use
While some employers may not have adequate organizational support for these workers, the study showed that insurance coverage for mental health disorders and substance use disorders is fairly common:
- 91 percent of employers cover outpatient mental health treatment
- 86 percent cover substance misuse
- Between 86 and 88 percent of all businesses cover inpatient treatment for substance use and mental health disorders
- The majority of those surveyed also offered insurance that covered prescription drug therapies for substance use and mental health disorders.
Further, while employers still have a long way to go toward insurance parity for these disorders when compared with other diseases, many employers have adopted Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to offer additional support to workers. EAP programs are a reliable resource for short-term employee support when the person is struggling with mental health issues or substance misuse. Many employers also offer wellness programs aimed at improving the health of their workers. But even more needs to be done to turn these numbers around.
HR Dive quoted researchers as saying, “Organizations should be sensitive to potential barriers to offering mental health and substance abuse benefits.” For example, the stigma of admitting substance use may keep many employees from seeking help from these resources. Staying aware of the overall health and well-being of the workforce while making a strong effort to keep employees aware of the benefits available can help employees cope with stress and get the help they need.
Washington State addiction treatment resources are standing by to speak with employers about ways they can further help their employees with these issues. If you or any of your loved ones experience substance use and mental health issues, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to discuss admissions and treatment options.