Monday, October 10, 2011

World Mental Health Day - October 10, 2011

Today is World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is "Investing in Mental Health." The day was created to raise public awareness about mental health issues and to promote open discussion about mental health and investments in prevention, promotion, and treatment services. 

Due to the fact that there is a large treatment gap for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in poor countries, World Mental Health Day is an important tool to increase knowledge about the significant behavioral health disparities that persist in diverse communities across the globe.  Many countries have less than one mental health specialist per one million people. To reach these communities, there needs to be an increased investment for mental health and a push to shift available resources toward more effective forms of services delivered through primary health care and community settings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Workplace Drug Use

According to a 2010 National Drug Treat Assessment published by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, workplace drug abuse is on the rise.  The Assessment showed that 8 percent of full-time and nearly 10.2 percent of part-time employees abuse drugsStatistics also showed that the majority of the increase is due to the abuse of prescription narcotics, not illegal drugs.

A 2010 report from urine drug testing company Quest Diagnostics found that 8 percent of full-time workers and 11.5 percent of part-time workers were current drug abusers.   U.S. Department of Labor studies in 2006 found much higher worker drug abuse rates in the food services, construction, and durable goods sectors, while both studies supported the increase in prescription drug statistics found by the National Drug Treat Assessment.  A 2008 report by Quest Diagnostic found more workers are now testing positive for prescription drugs than cocaine and methamphetamine combined.

Luckily, companies do have some power in controlling drug abuse issues in the workplace.  Company drug policies are proven to be effective and can limit the amount of employee drug use.  Workers whose employers did not have a written drug policy were about twice as likely to report abusing drugs in the past month as employers with written policies about drug use.