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For Colleagues
and Employers

Support your employees in and out of the office

An executive or professional suffering from mental health or substance use problems poses a risk not only to themselves and their families, but to the welfare of their employees, workplace, and others who depend on them. Despite their duress, their professional performance is typically last to suffer allowing their condition to go undetected until it becomes a major problem requiring professional treatment.

Seeking help for mental health and addiction problems as an executive or professional

John H. Krystal, MD of Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine advises employers and colleagues seeking information about mental health and addiction help.

  • I think one of the pieces of advice that I would recommend for boards or other management personnel is to think about The Steward House program as collaborators. There is the opportunity to bring them in early in the process before things completely blow up. There is a tendency in some organizations to believe that because people have managed in their lives with some degree of these problems that they are not as serious. But we know that when these problems are not effectively treated that they gravely compromise the effectiveness of people particularly in leadership positions. I hope that organizations will see mental illness and addictions for what they are which are potentially disabling and life threatening medical conditions.

There are signs to look for if you suspect a colleague or employee needs help.

  • Frequent or prolonged absences from work, usually without notification
  • Frequent, sometimes lengthy, trips to the bathroom or other areas where drugs could be stashed and/or consumed
  • “Roller-coaster” work performance, swinging up and down between high and low productivity
  • Common tasks are requiring greater effort, taking more time, seem to be more difficult, or causing the person more problems than they used to
  • Personal relations with co-workers are breaking down; the person is experiencing more frequent flare-ups, arguments, criticisms and bad feelings
  • Unexplained deterioration in personal appearance and hygiene
  • Other workers are commenting on, or complaining about, the person’s attitude and behavior
  • Excessive numbers of “sick days” without proper medical leave, with flimsy excuses and explanations
  • Frequent lateness or missed appointment times, production deadlines and meetings
  • More than usual numbers of mistakes due to inattention, poor judgment and bad decisions
  • Confusion, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating or recalling details and instructions
  • Unwilling to take responsibility and now blames others for their own errors, misunderstandings, lapses in judgment and missed quotas or deadlines
  • Personality changes such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, lack of impulse control, odd gestures, seeking isolation or to be “left alone”, and especially, any expression of suicidal thoughts or intentions

Information sourced from

How we partner with you during treatment

When an executive or professional’s mental health or substance use reaches a point of crisis, taking some time away from work can be an essential first step to getting better. Time away allows them to focus intently on their recovery without the distraction and pressures of their busy personal and professional lives. We understand this time away comes with significant impact to the workplace. We’re committed to working with you on any accommodations—videoconferencing, phone calls, etc.—that can help reduce this impact, as long as this does not distract them too much from their primary focus on getting better and their treatment activities.

Many of our patients are on leave from workplaces that want reports on progress. Our care team is available to consult with company leadership at any stage of a patient’s interaction with The Steward House, from admissions planning through discharge and beyond.

This can include any of the following:

  • Discussion of treatment options directly with executive/professional or organizational leaders/colleagues
  • Phone or in-person assessment with executive/professional
  • Recommendations for intervention strategies to initiate treatment at The Steward House or alternative programs
  • Consultation during or after treatment at The Steward House

“Studies show that more than 75% of newly sober executives had administrative assistants that helped them cover up their drinking or drug use. Furthermore, 60% of these executives say fellow executives protected them while they used.”2

Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about our program or advice on starting a discussion with your employee or colleague, contact us today.

Petra Pilgrim, M.D.

Director of Steward House

Contact Us

Contact Petra Pilgrim, M.D., Director directly at 203-801-3458 or by completing the confidential form below.
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