Who are you and what is your role with New Waters Recovery?
I’m Graham Doerge. I am the CEO of New Waters Recovery.
What is your connection with rehab and sobriety?
I was dealing with my own issues, specifically with alcohol. I decided to get sober and I was successful in doing so. I have been sober since 2008.
When I was in treatment, I realized that they did an excellent job helping me get through it. They saved my life and I couldn’t thank them enough. It inspired me to give back and unbeknownst to me, this ended up being more than just a life changing event.
I decided to do my part in helping people get sober as well. Making a career out of it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Believe it or not, my wife Chloe is someone that has also gone through her own troubles.
She went through substance abuse issues of her own. Like me, she’s in recovery. We decided to start a recovery center so people can have a second chance like us.
If not for our recovery, we never would have started New Waters Recovery. Nor would we have lived a blessed life with our three daughters.
As a CEO, you’re a business leader in a sense. What are some steps that corporates should do to make mental health a priority?
That’s a great question. Business leaders whether they are corporate leaders or small business owners must understand how important mental health is. I think it begins with knowing what the signs and symptoms are of the common mental disorders that are out there.
For example, a person may have no care for their appearance. They may have poor hygiene, they don’t look well put together like they normally do. If you match that with them being in a poor mood and having low productivity, you know that something is up.
I think it’s critical that business leaders should learn more about identifying symptoms and signs of potential mental stress. This way, they can educate their employees to spot it themselves. They want to make sure that everyone is OK mentally.
If they notice something is amiss, they want to be able to raise their concerns without repercussions. They want someone to get the help they need fast before things get worse.
What would be the best way for corporations to tackle the mental health issues affecting their employees?
I’d say that someone within the corporation gives a presentation on mental health issues in the workplace. It can also be someone with a mental health organization providing the presentation to business leaders and their employees.
They can talk about the kind of mental issues that exist and how they are treated. The presentation should also remind people that it’s OK not to be OK. Employers should also have strategies in which they can confidently talk to employees that are dealing with potential mental health troubles.
I highly recommend employers to make connections with local mental health professionals. I believe that having those people in your network will be essential. This way, if they or an employee of theirs needs mental health services, they will have the contact information handy.
This will definitely make an employer more resourceful in regards to how they can help their employees.
What do you believe are the common signs for mental health trouble in the workplace?
I think the most serious problem is that someone repeatedly doesn’t show up. They may call out sick or no show without a prior phone call. They may be isolated to the point where they may not leave their home.
If they do show up, they may be in a poor mood. They may be sad, irritable, or deal with some kind of mood swings. Also, if their productivity is suffering along with the signs they’re dealing with, that could be a cause for concern.
Once again, I think it’s critical that an employer needs to identify at least the basic signs regarding mental trouble. They don’t have to be masters at spotting it. They should know just enough to say ‘OK, something’s not right. Let’s see what’s going on.’
Once they are able to identify what could be a potential mental health issue, they can refer their employee to a professional.
What do you think should be done to prevent mental health troubles?
Believe it or not, most mental health troubles can start due to work-related stress. For that reason, I encourage employers to consider taking necessary measures. One such example is creating a work/life balance that will work for all employees.
The point of this is that you don’t want your employees to be overworked. Doing so will lead to stress and exhaustion. Too much of that can lead to burnout which can eventually lead to mental trouble.
What makes this even better is that remote work can be an option. This is assuming that a company has the infrastructure for it. I also think it can reduce the stress of commuting from home to the office.
Think about it, by the time a person arrives at the office, they’re probably stressed out. The same deal when they return home. If remote work is not out of the realm of possibility, I think I encourage employers to consider that idea.
I also encourage business leaders to inform their employees and let them know that overwork shouldn’t be recommended. I understand there are business goals that need to be met. And there are deadlines to be met as well.
However, I think mental health should still be a priority. No need to work the extra hours if you don’t want to. You can go home, spend time with family, and come back tomorrow and pick up where you left off.
Thank you so much for your time, Graham
My pleasure. Thanks a lot.
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