Granite Pathways Solution Series: Addressing Employee Mental Health and Addiction
On December 7th Granite Pathways hosted the first Solution Series outside of New York City. The event, Addressing Employee Mental Health and Addiction: Improving Your Business Bottom Line, had special importance for the near-capacity crowd at the Red River Theatre in Concord, New Hampshire, as the state is among the hardest hit by the national epidemic of opioid abuse. The mission of Granite Pathways, part of the Fedcap family of companies, is to support individuals with mental illness and addiction in building personal equity and achieve their life goals as valued members of their communities.
The Solution Series panelists - Chris Placy, Executive Vice President of Substance Free Workplace; Robert Roy, Environmental Health and Safety Manager of Newington’s TE Connectivity Subcom; and John Burns, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships for Public Health at Goodwin Community Health - are widely known and respected in New Hampshire for their efforts on behalf of individuals in recovery. They emphasized the need for a comprehensive strategy for businesses to address mental illness and substance abuse through a system geared toward prevention, intervention, and employee retention through long-term recovery support.
“Business has a tremendous role to play in long-term recovery,” said Chris Placy. “The workplace is the one place where people with mental health and substance issues intersect. The workplace can serve as a powerful catalyst for addressing these issues.”
Robert Roy emphasized the need for businesses to create a culture of caring and compassion so that individuals know where to go for help without fear of being stigmatized. He said that a culture of caring means educating employees about the benefits of an employee assistance program, making services accessible, and ensuring that supervisors know what to look for when they see a co-worker whose behavior could i9ndicate an issue with substance misuse.
When a member of John Burns’ family was struggling with serious mental health issues, he at first hid it from his employer, for fear of being stigmatized. When he finally did confide in his supervisor, he was met with compassion and support. Beyond the relief of being able to care for his family member, the supervisor’s response made Mr. Burns feel even more loyal to his employer.
The event was attended by business representatives from throughout New Hampshire, as well as advocates, community based providers, representatives from DHHS and consumers.
The Solution Series are designed to explore topics of critical importance to Fedcap’s business partners and extended community of stakeholders, including the individuals we serve. To date Fedcap has hosted thirteen Solution Series in New York City, and is pleased to extend these important events to New Hampshire.