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Friday, October 13, 2017

Promoting Mental Health At Work

mental health
October is an important month for people in addiction recovery, particularly for those with a dual diagnosis. Hopefully, you were aware that last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), and this past Tuesday was World Mental Health Day (WMHD). The critical events, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) respectively, raise awareness about mental health conditions.

During MIAW, the goal was to raise public awareness about various mental health conditions, including:
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Depression 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Psychosis 
Those of you in dual diagnosis recovery understand that mental health is dependent upon treating the substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorder. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish, but with the right kind of help, it’s achievable.

Most people go without treatment for far too long resulting in disease progression. Thus, people arrive at treatment facilities barely clinging to the will to live. Putting off recovery is overwhelmingly dangerous, and it’s quite often the result of stigma. The shame people feel about their condition(s) hinders their ability to seek assistance. Individuals fear repercussions from deciding to do something that will improve their quality of life. That may sound paradoxical, but it’s no less valid.


Consequences of Mental Health Treatment

People fear that which they can’t understand. Mental illness, and being diagnosed with one, is terrifying to most individuals. Psychological health conditions feel like a curse to those who are afflicted. The average person touched by psychiatric disorders fears what will happen if they seek help; they will no longer be able to deny the existence of a problem—treatment makes it real. Conversely, if they don’t recover, they may lose their job because of their abnormal behavior. The symptoms of depression or anxiety can make getting to work a real chore. Even arriving at one’s desk does not make the symptoms less burdensome.

Such people also have the fear of talking about their problems with a boss. They are afraid of how they will be viewed moving forward. If they ask for time off to address their disorder, people speculate that they will get fired, even when it’s unlikely. On Tuesday, World Mental Health Day was about encouraging employers to be supportive of their employees' mental health. The World Health Organization asks employers to exercise compassion concerning mental illness. WHO provided some statistics to highlight the prevalence of anxiety and depression:
  • More than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide.
  • More than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders.
  • Struggling with both conditions at the same time is not uncommon.
  • Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
A failure to promote mental health results in people turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with untreated mental illness. The outcome of which is never positive, substance use only makes one’s problems worse. What’s more, many substances have the power to cut life short. On the other hand, WHO writes:

“Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work.”


Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance use is not an efficient way to cope with symptoms of mental illness. It’s a behavior that often leads to dependence and addiction. If that happens, one must receive treatment for both conditions simultaneously to achieve recovery. Do you have depression or anxiety disorder and substance use disorder? Maybe you have loved one who fits this description? Please contact Whiteside Manor to discuss treatment options. Please do not let shame and fear stand in the way of recovery.

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