Hidden Barriers—A Webinar

Hidden Barriers to Successful Substance Use Treatment: Registration to Webinar Now Open

ALAViDA honours Mental Illness Awareness Week with webinar to help employers & benefits providers understand the need for stigma-free treatment

Canada’s leading virtual provider of evidence-based substance use treatment – offers free resources to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, aimed at helping employers and benefits providers understand how to support employees who struggle with substance use.

“Substance Use Isn’t Easy to Spot: How to Take the First Step So Employees Get the Help They Need”, October 19, 12:00-1:00 pm EST, shows participants how an empathetic approach to managing substance use would ensure more employees reveal their challenges earlier, resulting in greater outcomes.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadians report unprecedented stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. 40% say their mental health has deteriorated since the pandemic and since 30 per cent of all mental health diagnoses involve substance use, ALAViDA emphasizes the importance of removing barriers to information and access to substance use treatment.

The focus for Mental Illness Awareness Week is the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness such as depression and anxiety, which often occur in tandem with Substance Use Disorders. According to Dr. Terri-Lynn MacKay, ALAViDA’s clinical director, “Substance use remains one of the most poorly treated disorders. Our webinar will help people understand the connection between emotion and substance use and the ways people have used substances to cope during the pandemic. I liken emotional avoidance to trying to repeatedly squeeze a balloon into a box. Parts of it keep popping out and present in unhealthy coping responses. We’ll show employers and benefits providers how to effectively deflate that balloon in a manner that decreases substance use and increases employee mental health.”

The pandemic has turned business in Canada upside down: disrupted supply chains, resulted in layoffs or forced valued employees to quit. Some workers will continue to work remotely; others look forward to returning to the office, which ensures continued communication and management challenges. Add to all that, the tail of mental health and substance use challenges, which experts predict will continue for a long time. Canadian businesses have made significant gains supporting employees as they face mental health setbacks. Yet substance use, which over 20 per cent of Canadians will struggle with in their lifetimes, remains steeped in stigma. People so fear the shame that comes with being labeled as a substance user, that only 1 in 10 seek help.

“What many managers don’t understand is that stigma is baked into workplace substance use policies” says Jonathan Chapnick, a lawyer with Portage Legal Services and webinar panelist. “That stigma often prevents an employee from getting the help they need.”

Two industry leaders – Lianne Clarke, VP, Wellness and Disability Innovation & Growth with the Cowan Insurance Group and Stéphanie Clément, Manager, Training and Development with DMI Disability Management Institute share their frank insights and experiences in the challenges of creating effective substance use benefits.

“We know the pandemic has also created skilled worker shortages,” explains Elliot Stone, ALAViDA’s CEO. “Companies that learn to address substance use in a contemporary, compassionate manner pre-disability will ensure their employees feel supported during this extra-ordinary time.” Sign up for the webinar and download the white paper on the subject “Substance Use Isn’t Easy To Spot: How to Take the First Step So Employees Get the Help They Need”.

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