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WellSpan contributes to state discussion on employee wellbeing and substance abuse

WellSpan contributes to state discussion on employee wellbeing and substance abuse

WellSpan officials and the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) came together in York on Tuesday to discuss the impacts of stress in the workplace and how that has the potential to lead to substance misuse. The discussion specifically noted essential workers, like those in the health care field, as being especially at risk as we approach year three of this COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to watch the full press conference.

"The last 22 months have been unlike any other time in the last 100 years," said Dr. Anthony Aquilina, executive vice president and chief physician executive, WellSpan Health. "The many storms that have unfolded throughout the pandemic have taken and continue to take a toll on the psychological and emotional wellbeing of all our team members and the reason why we have been continually working to develop resources that offer emotional health support and connection for our employees."

To address these concerns, WellSpan launched a behavioral health app, myStrength, for its employees. The evidence-based web tool and mobile app lets employees create their own private account to access personalized resources for mental, emotional, and overall well-being. WellSpan employees are also encouraged to utilize the WellSpan Employee Assistance Program, which offers access to licensed professionals to support employees and their families within their varied needs.

"Nurses and the health care field have been under immense pressure over the past two years due to longer hours, secondary trauma or compassion fatigue, and unfortunately; a pandemic that has not let up," said Secretary Jen Smith. "No one is immune to the disease of addiction, and we understand that the extra stressors placed on the health care field leaves them more vulnerable to substance misuse."

Secretary Smith discussed the state's Just Five program available to any Pennsylvanian to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and provide education about SUD prevention and treatment. She also shared details on DDAP's Get Help Now hotline. That number, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), is a trusted resource for individuals and/or their loved ones if substance use disorder treatment or resources are needed. The hotline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals who will connect callers to resources in their community.