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Considering the alarming increase in reported instances of mental illness, substance misuse, and deaths from suicide or drug overdose, the workplace can no longer remain silent (Credit: solarseven/Shutterstock.com)

Mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) are both complex, chronic, progressive diseases that frequently occur together. They affect people holistically, meaning biologically psychologically, sociologically, and spiritually. The number of lives touched by these diseases is skyrocketing. In fact, 70% of those who struggle are employed. The good news is they are both treatable.

Despite their negative effect on workplace productivity, conversations about mental health and addiction are often considered taboo. Someone may mention their New Year’s resolution to stop smoking or lose weight. Another may confide in co-workers they have a cancer diagnosis and need help to complete assignments while undergoing treatment.

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