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The Mind in the Workplace

The Mind in the Workplace Series, focuses on the importance of mental health in the workplace. Mental health can be a topic that many shy away from in the workplace. Breaking the silence on this topic strengthens our ability to be inclusive and aware of challenges that others may be struggling with. Join us in this important series to learn more about mental health challenges and ways to support employees who experience mental health challenges so that everyone in the workplace can thrive.

Week 13: The Mind in the Workplace - Substance Abuse and Addiction

IMPORTANT: Leadership video is also available at:

Please Note: The Mind in the Workplace series aims to educate and spread awareness about mental health disorders and their impact on the workplace. However, members of the HR team are NOT mental health professionals. The information provided should not be used to self-diagnose, nor does it fully depict the complexity of each mental health disorder referenced. We understand that mental health looks different from person to person for numerous reasons. Therefore, please use discretion and consider doing external research when viewing the videos in this series.

Discussion Questions:

  1.  Have you known someone who has struggled with substance abuse and addiction?  What were some of the warning signs that they needed help?

  2. If you notice a coworker might be struggling with addiction or substance abuse, what is the best approach to take? 

Please note: After discussing the question, try hovering over a statement below to see if these are potentially good responses. (This activity is not available from a mobile device.)

Ask HR for help

Always a great option! 

Casually bring up how great 28 Days is on Netflix and highly recommend they watch it.

This is not likely a helpful approach. Substance abuse requires more than a passive aggressive approach or reference to pop culture depictions of substance abuse, which are often inaccurate.

Video or record them secretly so you can prove they are impaired at work.

This is also not a recommended approach.  While you can document the behaviors in writing, secretly videoing another person is generally not recommended.  If you feel a video of certain behaviors is necessary, please try to get in touch with someone from HR first to guide you through the process.

If you have a good rapport, ask what is going on in their life.

Depending on what is disclosed, you may still need assistance from HR to get the person the help they need.  But this is a good approach if you already have good rapport and believe the individual might engage in dialogue with you.

Additional Resources:


Week 13: The Mind in the Workplace - Substance Abuse and Addiction

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