People don’t always let on, but everyone has their challenges and stressors. The evidence is as close as your workplace.

“Often times, people think [mental health issues or addictions] are uncommon or unusual,” says Kim Guy, director of business development at Beckett Springs Hospital in West Chester. “We’ve found that’s not the case.”

Mental health issues are the No. 1 cause of disability for American businesses and industry today, with depression accounting for 400 million lost workdays per year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Drug and alcohol problems cost American employers $197 billion each year, Guy adds, citing a finding by The George Washington University Center. Of course, the employees are not always the ones who have the issue; it could be family members they’re caring for, she adds.

But even so, 75 percent of adult illegal drug users are employed, according to the National Institutes for Health.

“We get a lot of referrals from companies,” via employee assistance or safety programs, Guy says of the ways patients find Beckett Springs, which offers round-the-clock no-cost assessments, inpatient and outpatient services for adults to treat mental health, addiction or senior issues.

No formal referral protocol or trip to the emergency room is necessary first before consulting Beckett Springs, Guy says. And although appointments are made, “we have two or three people walk in a day saying ‘I need help.’”

The people who come in run the gamut of ages and livelihoods, from college age on, which underscores the prevalence of these problems, Guy says.

“We’ve had attorneys, city workers—at any level of employment there are high-functioning people who are really struggling,” with mental health or addiction, Guy says. “It’s hard for them to admit.”

And, ironically, considering the numbers, “they feel very alone, like they’re the only ones who are dealing with this,” Guy says.

The reasons for their troubles are myriad, as well, but some originate from work-related stress such as mandatory seven-day workweeks, or positions that can never truly allow the employee to be away from work.

Some people these days find themselves squeezed between two generations they are caring for, Guy says. They may have become dependent on pain pills or started to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to relieve the pressure they feel.

Other people are dealing with injuries or chronic pain, like Gary, who for 10 years endured the pain of the spine condition ankylosing spondylitis.

“It wore on me, apparently,” Gary says now of the severe depression he developed as a result, affecting his relationships and work at an engineering firm.

Inpatient and outpatient treatment at Beckett Springs helped to equip Gary with self-awareness, so he could recognize his main depressive trigger, isolating himself.

“I believe interacting with other patients helped,” Gary says.

Beckett Springs offers inpatient detox and addiction treatment, part hospitalization for mental health, addiction or co-occurring disorders and intensive outpatient services for addiction. Physicians, therapists, nurses and families take part in the holistic program, which makes use of group, pet, art recreational and music therapy, as well as nutritional groups and AA/NA/Smart Recovery, alumni and NAMI groups.

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