Shattering Stigma: Finding Hope in the Workplace for the Nearly 49M People with Substance Use Disorders | Sessions

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Concurrent Session
Shattering Stigma: Finding Hope in the Workplace for the Nearly 49M People with Substance Use Disorders
Sunday 06/23/2024 01:45 PM - 02:45 PM   Add to calendar

Competencies: Business (Behavioral), Interpersonal (Behavioral), People (Technical) | Intended Audience: Mid-Level, Senior-Level, Executive-level
Workplace Application:
Attendees will gain a better understanding of the active leadership role companies can play in overcoming stigma, so they can be instruments of hope for employees and families who need it most, supporting recovery and saving lives. 

On the heels of the mental health crisis, alcohol and substance use disorders (SUDs) have intensified during the pandemic and transition back to work. About 27 million –– 1 in every 6 –– working-age Americans now struggle with substance use disorders (SUDs) –– a 23% jump compared to pre-pandemic. About one-third of employers say alcohol is a problem in their workforce, and one-fourth say they are concerned about opioids or other SUDs among employees.

As businesses nationwide face rising costs of employee health care in 2024, substance use and addiction contribute to incurred costs of up to $532 billion per year for American companies and society. 64% of employers are enhancing health and well-being resources –– yet, less than 10% of employees are receiving treatment for addiction. So, why aren’t employees getting the help they need?

The barrier of stigma. Offering resources is only helpful to employees who feel comfortable enough to ask for help. Stigma around SUD in the workplace and in society poses a major hurdle for employees seeking assistance as they undergo treatment and pursue recovery.

In this session, you’ll hear the personal stories of employees struggling with addiction while wrestling the equally heavy burden of stigma at work. Learn how judgmental, stigmatizing language and actions from employers and colleagues can amplify the internal shame and anguish felt by those dealing with the chronic, treatable medical condition of SUD. You’ll also learn how stigmatizing behaviors at work can cause extreme isolation and heightened mental health concerns –– even the risk of suicide, making it nearly impossible for these employees to even imagine seeking help.

Learning Objectives:

  • Hear from an exemplary company that has transformed its workplace to be more inclusive, positive and supportive for employees struggling with SUDs.
  • Illustrate how best-in-class companies are banishing stigma and training employees to do the same.
Stephen Massey Photo
Stephen Massey, Co-Founder & CEO,
Health Action Alliance
Jake Gurock Photo
Jake Gurock, Principal,
Cerity Partners
Amanta Mazumdar Photo
Amanta Mazumdar, Vice President - Total Rewards,
Kirsten Seckler Photo
Kirsten Seckler, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer,