ALAViDA Featured in Law Enforcement Trade Publication, Blue Line Magazine

In A Matter of Trust – How to Revolutionize Substance Use Treatment for Canada’s Cops, journalist Maureen Palmer details the unique challenges police face in front-line positions that can often lead to trauma, coping mechanisms, and ultimately in a large number of cases, substance use dependency or disorder. 

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, over a third of municipal police, and just over half of those in the RCMP, experience mental health challenges, with 29% in the diagnostic range of PTSD. These challenges, along with the stress of shift work and increasing challenges during the pandemic, have led progressive leaders to seek out better mental health supports for officers while working to reduce stigma around mental health and substance use. The article looks at a case study with York Regional Police, which did a pilot program with ALAViDA, resulting in an exponential increase in officers reaching out for help for issues related to substance use. 

“If you’ve set up a truly supportive plan for substance use, employees would access it just like they do their physio or dental benefit, with complete confidentiality. Normalizing is key to destigmatizing.”

ALAVIDA, a LifeSpeak Company, is Canada’s first virtual care provider in the substance use space that can guarantee the confidentiality required by those in the workforce, while working to shift the perspective of substance use challenges. According to Elliot Stone, CEO of ALAViDA, “If you’ve set up a truly supportive plan for substance use, employees would access it just like they do their physio or dental benefit, with complete confidentiality. No one knows that I need physio on my back or a filling. Nor should they. And that’s exactly how we should deliver substance use support. Normalizing is key to destigmatizing.”  

Click here to read the full feature article in Blue Line Magazine. 

 

 

 

 

 

ALAViDA is Featured in Canadian Mining Magazine

In Shifting the Perception and Treatment of Substance Use, Part 2, journalist, Maureen Palmer, shares what it would look like to introduce an innovative approach to substance use in the workplace. Palmer offers steps that companies can take to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. “Good treatment meets people where they are at,” says Terri-Lynn MacKay, clinical director of ALAViDA, a LifeSpeak Company and Canada’s first virtual care provider whose evidence-based one-stop-shop. “Good treatment delivers a bio-psycho-social perspective,” she continues. “We’re looking at the whole person—the bio: their genetics, their physiology. Psychological: their adverse childhood experiences, trauma, mood regulation. And we can’t ignore the sociological aspect: the ubiquity of alcohol consumption, how it’s woven into every celebration, and the insidious social media influencing about alcohol.” Learn more about the trends in substance use and the transition from an abstinence-only tradition to options for harm reduction.

Click here to read the full feature article in Canadian Mining Magazine.

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

 

 

 

 

 

ALAViDA Partners with Nabs

Nabs Offers New Help for Those Worried About Substance Overuse

Canada’s ad industry charity nabs has introduced a new service to help members who want to cut back on their use of alcohol and drugs.

The service is being delivered by Alavida (part of Lifespeak, a wellness partner for nabs) and is a free, confidential “therapy-based iCBT” (internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy) program. It starts with a self-assessment about substance use and coping mechanisms to determine what help, if any, may be in order—including asynchronous messaging with addiction counsellors and Alavida coaches, progress and outcome reports and tracking.

Nabs has been monitoring the effects of the pandemic on its members, and concerns about people’s “uneasy relationship” with substances led them to introduce the new program, according to Louise Berube, director, allocations and services.

“This is for anyone who might be wondering if they are using substances too much, and it can also help people that are using too much,” Berube told The Message. “It’s meant to be proactive and help people at any stage, and help them confidentially access supports to make changes.”

It’s not the first new offering from nabs during the pandemic. Last year, it introduced new mental health support for those struggling with the emotional strain of the health crisis.

Togetherall is a 24/7 online peer-to-peer mental health community designed to help users feel less alone and part of a community of people coping with similar issues. Users can get information about depression and anxiety and how to cope with them, for example, and can also access tools and services, or connect with others coping with similar issues.

There have been growing concerns during the pandemic that substance abuse and dependency have been on the rise across society as a whole.

According to Alavida, studies have shown that about 20% of Canadians say they are drinking more, but few seek treatment due to the stigma associated with alcohol or drug use.

“Alavida’s stigma-free, easy to access program allows employees to seek help sooner from the privacy of their smartphones,” said Alavida president Elliot Stone in a release. “Like any other potentially life-threatening disorder, catching it early and offering evidence-based, confidential and easy-to-access treatment is key to increase chances that people will reach out before there’s a crisis, and the treatment will be successful.”

While substance overuse and abuse has been a concern in many industries, alcohol use in particular has long had a unique association with the ad industry.

“Our industry’s culture has normalized alcohol use to celebrate a win, a long week, or any type of milestone event,” said Sunil Sekhar, board member of nabs and vice-president of HR at FCB Canada, in the release. “Many agencies are taking deliberate steps to make their workplaces more inclusive for employees who do not drink, and destigmatizing the reasons someone may make this lifestyle choice. Nabs adding Alavida to their services platform is timely and helps reduce the stigma around substance use.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the new nabs program can do so here.

To read the full article, click here. 

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

ALAViDA Partners with Green Shield Canada

ALAViDA Partners with Green Shield Canada to Meet the Rapidly Growing Demand for Virtual Substance Use Management

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ALAViDA Health Ltd. (Alavida), a LifeSpeak Inc. company (TSX:LSPK) and leading virtual provider of evidence-based substance use treatment, announced today its pre-disability TRAiL Hello Premium program will now be offered to Green Shield Canada’s (GSC) plan sponsors as an optional addition to benefit plans.

Later this year, the ALAViDA program will also become a complementary addition to GSC’s Digital Clinic. The Digital Clinic is a suite of virtual health solutions available at discounted costs. GSC is Canada’s only national not-for-profit health benefits provider, delivering innovative programs to more than four million plan members nationwide.

Substance use affects 21 percent of Canadians, and the pandemic continues to expose mental health challenges and growing drug and alcohol use.

“Factors like shame, stigma, and busy schedules make substance use disorder the largest unmanaged disease in modern healthcare,” explains Joe Blomeley, GSC’s Executive Vice President, Mental Health. “It’s time to change that. We’re excited to be joining ALAViDA on this initiative to make treatment for substance use more accessible.”

ALAViDA’s TRAiL Hello Premium program uses a connected virtual care model that links physicians, therapists, and a virtual companion to meet individual needs and goals. Confidential and accessible on any device, the program offers the privacy to engage in substance use management whenever, wherever.

For employers, ALAViDA helps fill the gap for unaddressed substance use in the workplace with virtual treatment that guides employers to support employees at the pre-disability stage, reducing or potentially eliminating the significant cost to employers.

“Studies have shown that one in five Canadians say they are drinking more with women reporting a 41 percent increase in heavy drinking episodes. Yet it’s estimated that only one in ten seek treatment due to the stigma associated with alcohol or drug use,” says Elliot Stone, President of ALAViDA, a LifeSpeak company. “We believe that making ALAViDA’s stigma-free, confidential, substance use treatment accessible to every Green Shield Canada plan member via their smartphone dramatically increases the chances employees will seek help sooner, before their use becomes a crisis. Like any other potentially life-threatening disorder, catching it early increases the chances of treatment success and drives down employer costs.”

The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research estimates that substance use cost Canadian businesses approximately $15.7 billion each year in absences, lost productivity and disability claims. Alcohol costs employers 5.8 times more than cannabis and opioids combined in long-term disability claims.

About ALAViDA

ALAViDA, part of the LifeSpeak Inc. (TSX: LSPK) family of companies, is a leading virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management. It offers a one-stop-shop approach for any level of substance use disorder – alcohol and drugs – mild, moderate and severe. ALAViDA connects patients with behavioural coaches, therapists and physicians who work as a team to deliver personalized care right to their smartphones. ALAViDA is an employee benefit with varying plans and personalized therapeutic programs, which has proven to minimize time out of the workplace. Traditional rehab often costs $30,000 or more a month. ALAViDA’s program is a mere fraction of that. More than 79 per cent of those signed on reported increased control and 86 per cent reduced substance use. To learn more visit ALAViDA.co For information on corporate programs or to establish a referral relationship contact solutions@ALAViDA.co

About Green Shield Canada (GSC)

GSC is Canada’s fourth-largest health and dental benefits provider, and is uniquely structured as a social enterprise with the purpose of making it easier for people to live their healthiest lives. From coast-to-coast, our service delivery includes drug, dental, extended health care, vision, hospital, and travel benefits for groups and individuals, as well as administration and benefits management services. Supported by outcomes-based sustainability strategies, advanced technology, and exceptional customer service, GSC creates innovative programs for more than four million plan participants nationwide, as part of our ongoing commitment to fostering better health for all Canadians. greenshield.ca

About LifeSpeak Inc.

LifeSpeak is a leading software-as-a-service provider of a platform for mental health and total wellbeing education for organizations committed to taking care of their employees and customers. With 17+ years of experience creating and curating thousands of expert-led micro-learning videos and other digital content, LifeSpeak’s proprietary library’s depth and breadth of easily consumable content helps companies around the world support their people anytime and anywhere. LifeSpeak serves a diverse global client base across many industries and sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, insurance providers, and other health technology firms. LifeSpeak is the parent company of Lift Digital Inc. (“LIFT” or “LIFT session”), ALAViDA Health Ltd. (“ALAViDA”), and EnCompass Education Solutions (“Torchlight”). To learn more, follow LifeSpeak on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/lifespeak-inc), or visit www.LifeSpeak.com.

Forward-Looking Information

This press release may include “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking information may include, but is not limited to, information with respect to our objectives and the strategies to achieve these objectives, as well as information with respect to our beliefs, plans, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions.

In some cases, but not necessarily in all cases, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology and phrases such as “forecast”, “target”, “goal”, “may”, “might”, “will”, “could”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “intend”, “plan”, “indicate”, “seek”, “believe”, “predict”, or “likely”, or the negative of these terms, or other similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking information, including references to assumptions. In addition, any statements that refer to expectations, intentions, projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances contain forward-looking information. Statements containing forward-looking information are not historical facts nor guarantees or assurances of future performance but instead represent management’s current beliefs, expectations, estimates and projections regarding possible future events, circumstances or performance.

Forward-looking information is necessarily based on a number of opinions, estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by LifeSpeak as of the date of this release, is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ, possibly materially, from those indicated by the forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, the risk factors identified under “Risk Factors” in LifeSpeak’s prospectus dated June 28, 2021 (the “IPO Prospectus”), and in other periodic filings that LifeSpeak has made and may make in the future with the securities commissions or similar regulatory authorities in Canada, all of which are available under LifeSpeak ‘s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. These factors are not intended to represent a complete list of the factors that could affect LifeSpeak. However, such risk factors should be considered carefully. There can be no assurance that such estimates and assumptions will prove to be correct. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information, which speak only as of the date of this release. LifeSpeak undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking information, except as required by applicable securities laws.

Contacts

ALAViDA:
Maureen Palmer
1.888.315.3634
press@alavida.co

GSC Media Department
Shelley Pollock
1.800.268.6613 ext. 4312
media@greenshield.ca

LifeSpeak:
Mike Reilly, fama PR
617-986-5008
LifeSpeak@famapr.com

To read the full report, click here. 

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

 

Substance Use Drives Disability
ALAViDA, a LifeSpeak company

Substance use data gathered in Benefits Canada’s survey for the first time

New data from Benefits Canada’s leading healthcare survey shows hidden substance use disorders are increasing employer healthcare claims. ALAViDA, a leading virtual provider of evidence-based substance use treatment and member of the LifeSpeak Inc. (TSX: LSPK) family of companies, sponsored the survey, which for the first time focused attention on substance use.
The national survey of 1,000 primary holders of group benefits conducted by Ipsos Reid found 15 per cent of respondents reported their alcohol use was up. For health care workers and first responders, almost 20 per cent reported increased alcohol use over the past year. The 2021 Benefits Canada Health Survey Advisory Board expects alcohol use was underreported in the survey, and that these figures are likely higher.

The survey found mental health now tops its list of chronic conditions. Among all respondents, 36 per cent reported increased sadness, anxiety or depression and that number rose to 45 per cent among women. The isolation of work-from-home may have contributed to mental health concerns.

“Evidence-based mental health training is vital to identify and eliminate stereotypes, especially surrounding substance use, which represents over 30 per cent of mental health issues, according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It should be a top priority for plan sponsors in the post-COVID workplace,” says Elliot Stone, President of ALAViDA, a LifeSpeak company. “Structural stigma is baked into the workplace, and it prevents people from accessing the help they need pre-disability. If we learn to communicate with empathy and encouragement, rather than with judgement while overburdening those seeking treatment, we will see better outcomes.”

The survey also found that the acceptance of virtual care has accelerated. Digital services like ALAViDA are changing the treatment landscape by providing employers with an opportunity to expand access to evidence-based care that increases treatment success while driving down costs. An analysis of the effectiveness of the ALAViDA platform conducted by the Digital Health Circle, a BC-based not for profit that partners with more than 250 organizations across Canada, found that 86 per cent of clients reduced consumption and 79 percent increased control over their use.

“Substance use has always been costly for employers, but is hidden in the workplace—and the pandemic has only exacerbated the issue,” says ALAViDA’s Stone. “Increased reliance on substances as a coping strategy in these stressful times will have significant impacts on employees and their families. Mental health and addiction experts are predicting that the effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting, and research tells us questions about substance use were already not asked often enough, creating a dearth of data. We need to know the extent of the problem so we can provide solutions.”

Read the full report here.

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

 

ALAViDA’s New Logo

ALAViDA Builds Momentum and Announces New Logo

Setting our members and clients up for success has always been our top priority. We started by removing barriers to substance use care with evidence-based approaches. Eventually, we built an all-in-one approach for all levels of substance use disorder – alcohol and drugs – from mild to moderate to severe.

Today, we’re updating our company brand. It reflects our expanded capability to deliver virtual evidence-based substance use support to millions of people around the world since joining the LifeSpeak Inc. (TSX: LSPK) family of companies in October 2021.

LifeSpeak has been at the forefront of corporate mental health and total wellbeing education for nearly two decades. Together with LifeSpeak, ALAViDA will continue to provide the same easy-to-use platform, resources, privacy and confidentiality our clients’ trust, amplified by LifeSpeak’s expertise. Over the coming weeks, we will start using the new brand within our products, marketing materials and company website.

Book a Demo

Book a demo to learn about corporate programs with ALAViDA, a LifeSpeak company and Canada’s first virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management.

ALAViDA
422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver – BC Canada | V6B 2Z4
alavida.co

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

About ALAViDA

ALAViDA, part of the LifeSpeak Inc. (TSX: LSPK) family of companies, is a leading virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management. It offers a one-stop-shop approach for any level of substance use disorder – alcohol and drugs – mild, moderate and severe. ALAViDA connects patients with behavioural coaches, therapists and physicians who work as a team to deliver personalized care right to their smartphones. ALAViDA is an employee benefit with varying plans and personalized therapeutic programs, which has proven to minimize time out of the workplace. Traditional rehab often costs $30,000 or more a month. ALAViDA’s program is a mere fraction of that. More than 79 per cent of those signed on reported increased control and 86 per cent reduced substance use. To learn more visit ALAViDA.co For information on corporate programs or to establish a referral relationship contact solutions@ALAViDA.co

About LifeSpeak Inc.

LifeSpeak is a leading software-as-a-service provider of a platform for mental health and total wellbeing education for organizations committed to taking care of their employees and customers. With 17+ years of experience creating and curating thousands of expert-led micro-learning videos and other digital content, LifeSpeak’s proprietary library’s depth and breadth of easily consumable content helps companies around the world support their people anytime and anywhere. LifeSpeak serves a diverse global client base across many industries and sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, insurance providers, and other health technology firms. LifeSpeak is the parent company of Lift Digital Inc. (“LIFT” or “LIFT session”), ALAViDA Health Ltd. (“ALAViDA”), and EnCompass Education Solutions (“Torchlight”). To learn more, follow LifeSpeak on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/lifespeak-inc), or visit www.LifeSpeak.com.

 

Chris Gomes

ALAViDA Health

+1 888-315-4617

email us here

 

Visit us on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Other

 

 

 

Barriers to Treatment

Hidden Barriers to Successful Substance Use Treatment: Registration to Webinar Now Open

ALAViDA honours Mental Illness Awareness Week with webinar to help employers & benefits providers understand the need for stigma-free treatment

ALAViDA, Canada’s leading virtual provider of evidence-based substance use treatment – offers free resources to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, aimed at helping employers and benefits providers understand how to support employees who struggle with substance use.

“Substance Use Isn’t Easy to Spot: How to Take the First Step So Employees Get the Help They Need”, October 19, 12:00-1:00 pm EST, shows participants how an empathetic approach to managing substance use would ensure more employees reveal their challenges earlier, resulting in greater outcomes.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadians report unprecedented stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. 40% say their mental health has deteriorated since the pandemic and since 30 per cent of all mental health diagnoses involve substance use, ALAViDA emphasizes the importance of removing barriers to information and access to substance use treatment.

The focus for Mental Illness Awareness Week is the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness such as depression and anxiety, which often occur in tandem with Substance Use Disorders. According to Dr. Terri-Lynn MacKay, ALAViDA’s clinical director, “Substance use remains one of the most poorly treated disorders. Our webinar will help people understand the connection between emotion and substance use and the ways people have used substances to cope during the pandemic. I liken emotional avoidance to trying to repeatedly squeeze a balloon into a box. Parts of it keep popping out and present in unhealthy coping responses. We’ll show employers and benefits providers how to effectively deflate that balloon in a manner that decreases substance use and increases employee mental health.”

The pandemic has turned business in Canada upside down: disrupted supply chains, resulted in layoffs or forced valued employees to quit. Some workers will continue to work remotely; others look forward to returning to the office, which ensures continued communication and management challenges. Add to all that, the tail of mental health and substance use challenges, which experts predict will continue for a long time. Canadian businesses have made significant gains supporting employees as they face mental health setbacks. Yet substance use, which over 20 per cent of Canadians will struggle with in their lifetimes, remains steeped in stigma. People so fear the shame that comes with being labeled as a substance user, that only 1 in 10 seek help.

“What many managers don’t understand is that stigma is baked into workplace substance use policies” says Jonathan Chapnick, a lawyer with Portage Legal Services and webinar panelist. “That stigma often prevents an employee from getting the help they need.”

Two industry leaders – Lianne Clarke, VP, Wellness and Disability Innovation & Growth with the Cowan Insurance Group and Stéphanie Clément, Manager, Training and Development with DMI Disability Management Institute share their frank insights and experiences in the challenges of creating effective substance use benefits.

“We know the pandemic has also created skilled worker shortages,” explains Elliot Stone, ALAViDA’s CEO. “Companies that learn to address substance use in a contemporary, compassionate manner pre-disability will ensure their employees feel supported during this extra-ordinary time.” Sign up for the webinar and download the white paper on the subject “Substance Use Isn’t Easy To Spot: How to Take the First Step So Employees Get the Help They Need”.

About ALAViDA:
ALAViDA is Canada’s first national virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management. It is a one-stop-shop approach for all levels of Substance Use Disorder – alcohol and drugs – mild, moderate and severe. ALAViDA connects members with behavioural coaches, therapists and physicians who work as a team to deliver personalized care right to their smartphones. ALAViDA is an employee benefit with varying plans and personalized therapeutic programs, which has proven to minimize time out of the workplace. Traditional rehab often costs $30,000 or more a month. ALAViDA’s program is a mere fraction of that. More than 79 per cent of those signed on reported increased control and 86 per cent reduced substance use.

To learn more visit ALAViDA.co

To access the press release, click here. 

For information on corporate programs or to establish a referral relationship contact solutions@ALAViDA.co

Chris Gomes
ALAViDA Health
+1 888-315-4617
email us here
Visit us on social media:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

About ALAViDA

ALAViDA, part of the LifeSpeak Inc. (TSX: LSPK) family of companies, is a leading virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management. It offers a one-stop-shop approach for any level of substance use disorder – alcohol and drugs – mild, moderate and severe. ALAViDA connects patients with behavioural coaches, therapists and physicians who work as a team to deliver personalized care right to their smartphones. ALAViDA is an employee benefit with varying plans and personalized therapeutic programs, which has proven to minimize time out of the workplace. Traditional rehab often costs $30,000 or more a month. ALAViDA’s program is a mere fraction of that. More than 79 per cent of those signed on reported increased control and 86 per cent reduced substance use. To learn more visit ALAViDA.co For information on corporate programs or to establish a referral relationship contact solutions@ALAViDA.co

About LifeSpeak Inc.

LifeSpeak is a leading software-as-a-service provider of a platform for mental health and total wellbeing education for organizations committed to taking care of their employees and customers. With 17+ years of experience creating and curating thousands of expert-led micro-learning videos and other digital content, LifeSpeak’s proprietary library’s depth and breadth of easily consumable content helps companies around the world support their people anytime and anywhere. LifeSpeak serves a diverse global client base across many industries and sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, insurance providers, and other health technology firms. LifeSpeak is the parent company of Lift Digital Inc. (“LIFT” or “LIFT session”), ALAViDA Health Ltd. (“ALAViDA”), and EnCompass Education Solutions (“Torchlight”). To learn more, follow LifeSpeak on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/lifespeak-inc), or visit www.LifeSpeak.com.

 

Chris Gomes

ALAViDA Health

+1 888-315-4617

email us here

 

Visit us on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Other

 

Shortsighted Substance Use Policies in Law

Treatment or Punishment: How Current Substance Use Treatment Policies Hurt Lawyers

 If a lawyer with a seizure disorder misses court because of a seizure and the client complains to the Law Society, how should that complaint be handled?

If a lawyer with a substance use disorder misses court because of drug or alcohol use and the client subsequently complains to the Law Society, how should that complaint be handled?

To Jonathan Chapnick of Vancouver’s Portage Legal Services, they ought to be treated primarily the same. Chapnick has worked for unions and employers for 15 years and is an expert on workplace law and policy, especially in the area of mental health and substance use.

“Both complaints are connected to health issues, yet many lawyers and law societies might not see it that way and seem convinced that these two similar situations demand two dramatically different responses.” When asked why this is the case, Chapnick offers a simple response: “Stigma.” In 2018, Chapnick presented to the Law Society of BC’s Mental Health Task Force on how it regulates lawyers with mental health and substance use disorders. “In the legal profession, like almost everywhere else, attitudes toward substance use reflect dominant beliefs and misperceptions, including the idea that addiction is a moral failing, rather than a health or socio-political issue. People with substance use issues are imputed with undesirable characteristics, which often gives rise to a coercive and judgmental response.  It’s no wonder many folks are scared to seek help.”

Substance use is one the most thorny and pervasive issues in the profession. A 2016 study by the American Bar Association/Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation found one in three practicing lawyers to be engaged in heavy drinking, based on the volume and frequency of alcohol consumed. According to the Legal Profession Assistance Conference of Canada (LPAC) various studies cite the rate of substance use as somewhere between 15% and 24%.   And that’s before the pandemic. Since then, substance use and mental health diagnoses spiked further. Women’s heavy drinking in general jumped 41 percent and a 2021 survey of lawyers in California and DC also found risky/hazardous drinking significantly higher amongst female lawyers.  Recognizing the need for fresh data, the Federation of Law Societies is currently surveying Canadian lawyers about mental health and substance use. Studies to date suggest the vast majority of discipline matters involve Alcohol Use Disorders.

Yet alcohol is woven into the reward system of many legal firms. Champagne corks pop with big wins.  Long days crafting briefs become long nights unwinding in the bar.  The work culture rewards those with more billable hours, which invariably creates more stress.

Canadian businesses, including law firms, have made significant gains supporting employees as they face mental health challenges. Yet substance use, which makes up 33 percent of all mental health issues, is still steeped in stigma. Most people so fear being labeled with a drinking problem, it’s estimated only 1 in 10 seek treatment. According to the Law Society of BC’s Mental Health Task Force, very few lawyers disclose substance use to regulatory bodies, fearing both discipline and the judgment of colleagues. “Why would they?” asks Chapnick.  “The only certainty that comes with disclosure is stigma, and it plays out in at least a couple of ways.” First, social stigma operates on a group level and plays out behaviourally. Members of a large group, say a Law Society – might believe lawyers battling addiction are less competent, so they don’t refer clients to them . “That’s social stigma and it’s often scaffolded on dated, erroneous beliefs and poorly extrapolated data.”

Then there’s structural stigma, where lawyers with addictions face policies that control their behaviour, creating intrusions and impositions not placed on lawyers with other personal issues or health conditions. For instance: forcing lawyers to attend costly and invasive “Independent Medical Exams” where they have no choice in doctor or treatment and attendance is compulsory. This is not the standard in other health care.

As a result, says Chapnick, lawyers with substance use disorders might not get the treatment or support they need. “And for some, this might mean that their health or personal circumstances will get worse and could start affecting their professional practice.” That usually results in expensive trips to rehab and the beginning of a regulatory process that many with addiction issues feel is punitive.

“Quite often this creates more anxiety and fear in the lawyer battling substance use, because the current patient experience is broken,” says Elliot Stone, the CEO of ALAViDA, Canada’s first completely virtual, evidence-based substance use treatment available directly on employees’ smartphones. “The vast majority of traditional rehabs do not yet offer a broad range of evidence-based treatment. Few have medically trained specialists and medication. Wait times range from 17 to 52 days. There is a one-size-fits-all approach, regardless of the severity of the problem.”

Damage mounts to both the employee and the workplace. Disability costs skyrocket. “These types of problems are avoidable, argues Chapnick. “Evidence supports a variety of addiction treatment options and therapeutic approaches, including early and preventative interventions that can result in positive health outcomes. But none of these options and supports really matter if employees and legal professionals can’t access them.”

“We think the key to getting in front of this tsunami of substance use, is to make a benefit available pre-disability and make it available to all employees, not just the ones with substance use challenges. We confidentially deal with all levels of substance use, mild, moderate, or severe and we help employees who just want to incorporate a healthier approach to alcohol use in their lifestyle. That in itself is de-stigmatizing,” according to ALAViDA’s Stone. “When it comes to accessing substance use treatment, we think it should be no more difficult than going to physio. The boss doesn’t need to know about an employee’s bad back; nor do they need to know about an employee’s substance use disorder unless it impacts work performance. We want to create a world where people seek help for their problem before it’s a full-blown crisis and removing stigma is key.”

Other professions with the dual duty to protect the public and support members have recognized those with substance use disorders (SUD) are subject to discriminating policies. A report coauthored by the BC Nurses’ union calls for reforming how nurses with SUDs are treated. “BC nurses with SUDs are usually offered a cookie-cutter treatment approach, regardless of the severity of the disorder, job environment and work duties … leaving nurses with SUDs at high risk of relapse.” The report describes how those nurses are asked to undergo an independent medical exam (IME), “which is often carried out by one of a small number of physicians, many of whom have a financial interest in a monitoring company.” The BC Law Society recognizes the limits of current approaches and its Benchers have adopted a recommendation for an alternative discipline process based on the report of the Mental Health Task Force.

Key to ensuring lawyers get the help they need early: education at the managing partner level that’s geared to addressing structural problems, like improving working conditions that increase lawyer’s vulnerability to substance-related harms. Firm leaders also need to adopt a more compassionate tone, so lawyers will feel more supported and less judged. The pay off in adopting a fresh approach is huge:  a much healthier workforce and an astounding 565 percent return on investment. “It’s good business,” says ALAViDA’s Stone “and it’s the right thing to do.”

To learn more about evidence-based substance use treatment, contact solutions@alavida.co.

Click here to read more.

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

About ALAViDA

ALAViDA, part of the LifeSpeak Inc. (TSX: LSPK) family of companies, is a leading virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management. It offers a one-stop-shop approach for any level of substance use disorder – alcohol and drugs – mild, moderate and severe. ALAViDA connects patients with behavioural coaches, therapists and physicians who work as a team to deliver personalized care right to their smartphones. ALAViDA is an employee benefit with varying plans and personalized therapeutic programs, which has proven to minimize time out of the workplace. Traditional rehab often costs $30,000 or more a month. ALAViDA’s program is a mere fraction of that. More than 79 per cent of those signed on reported increased control and 86 per cent reduced substance use. To learn more visit ALAViDA.co For information on corporate programs or to establish a referral relationship contact solutions@ALAViDA.co

About LifeSpeak Inc.

LifeSpeak is a leading software-as-a-service provider of a platform for mental health and total wellbeing education for organizations committed to taking care of their employees and customers. With 17+ years of experience creating and curating thousands of expert-led micro-learning videos and other digital content, LifeSpeak’s proprietary library’s depth and breadth of easily consumable content helps companies around the world support their people anytime and anywhere. LifeSpeak serves a diverse global client base across many industries and sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, insurance providers, and other health technology firms. LifeSpeak is the parent company of Lift Digital Inc. (“LIFT” or “LIFT session”), ALAViDA Health Ltd. (“ALAViDA”), and EnCompass Education Solutions (“Torchlight”). To learn more, follow LifeSpeak on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/lifespeak-inc), or visit www.LifeSpeak.com.

 

Chris Gomes

ALAViDA Health

+1 888-315-4617

email us here

 

Visit us on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Other

 

LifeSpeak Acquires ALAViDA

LifeSpeak Acquires ALAViDA to Deliver Virtual Substance Use Support to Millions

Leader in Mental Health and Total Wellbeing Education Bolsters Behavioral

Health Platform Offerings with Addition of SaaS-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Platform

LifeSpeak Inc. (“LifeSpeak” or the “Company”) (TSX: LSPK), the mental health and total wellbeing educational platform for employee and customer-focused organizations, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement and completed the acquisition of ALAViDA Health Ltd. (“ALAViDA”), a virtual SaaS-based provider of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) health solutions for Substance Use Disorders (SUD).

LifeSpeak’s acquisition of ALAViDA deepens its behavioral health capabilities and will further bolster its existing SaaS platform offerings to better serve its diverse global client base. The Company believes that the acquisition of ALAViDA will enhance growth through significant cross-sell opportunities of ALAViDA’s industry-leading technology platform to LifeSpeak’s existing customer base and by introducing LifeSpeak’s platform for mental health and wellbeing education to ALAViDA’s customer base.

“One-third of workplace mental health issues are substance use challenges, but the associated stigma often prevents people from coming forward to seek the treatment or care they need. Business leaders have developed an elevated awareness of mental health issues and SUD in the workplace, and they now understand it is critical for people facing these challenges to have access to high-quality, confidential tools that can support them on their journey of behavioral change,” said Michael Held, CEO and founder of LifeSpeak. “As a global leader in mental health and wellbeing, we are proud to provide preventative mental health resource support that educates while reducing barriers to access for those most in need. ALAViDA shares this mission, and its highly experienced team has reshaped Substance Use Disorder treatment by offering CBT resources that are confidential and reduce stigma, to drive better health outcomes. This combination of shared values and commitment to addressing these issues makes this relationship a natural fit, and we look forward to working alongside the ALAViDA team to bring their cutting-edge solution to the millions of people around the globe that utilize the LifeSpeak platform.”

ALAViDA is a comprehensive SaaS-based alcohol and drug use treatment solution designed for employers that brings the key components lacking in the traditional rehab model together. The ALAViDA technology platform delivers on-demand substance use support through the privacy of an individual’s smartphone and self-guided resources available anytime, anywhere. Individuals can easily access board-certified SUD physicians, medication-assisted therapy, assessments, personalized treatment plans, care coordination, and reporting. This approach to early intervention helps keep employees at work; 95% of employees engaged with ALAViDA continue to work while receiving treatment, and 86% of members reduce substance abuse and consumption. As the leading SaaS-based SUD product in the market. ALAViDA’s growth has accelerated in recent years due to the increasing recognition and prevalence of SUD and its strong focus on enterprise client opportunities.

The acquisition of ALAViDA is a key investment that aligns with LifeSpeak’s vision of accelerating growth through acquisitions and follows the Company’s recent announcement to acquire online wellness company, LIFT Digital Inc. (“LIFT”). LifeSpeak acquired ALAViDA for total consideration of $12 million, comprised of a $7 million cash payment and the potential for up to a $5 million earnout, payable upon reaching predetermined 2022 financial performance milestones. In addition to utilizing the net proceeds from its $125 million initial public offering to augment its portfolio, LifeSpeak has committed further resources to content development, platform enhancements, and global market expansion.

The acquisitions of LIFT and ALAViDA expand the robust content offerings already available on the LifeSpeak platform. LifeSpeak, LIFT, and ALAViDA share SaaS-based business models that empower global expansion opportunities while serving employers and their employees directly and through integrated partnerships with health plans, employee associations, third-party administrators, and insurance carriers.

“LifeSpeak is at the forefront of mental health and wellbeing education. Its proven track record reflects the benefits of simplifying access and helping organizations create a safe space for employees, customers, and their families to get help earlier. We are excited to join forces with LifeSpeak in removing barriers to care,” said Elliot Stone, co-founder and CEO of ALAViDA. “ALAViDA has reshaped the substance use management industry by providing gold-standard, evidence-based collaborative care that is powered by technology. The solution can be easily incorporated into group and long-term disability employee benefit plans. Combining efforts with LifeSpeak gives us the global reach to make a positive impact on millions of people around the world. Like ALAViDA, empowering people is in LifeSpeak’s DNA, which affirms my belief that this is the right step for the company, our employees, and importantly, our members and clients.”

About ALAViDA Health Ltd.

ALAViDA is Canada’s first virtual care provider focused on the science of substance use management. It is a one-stop-shop approach for any level of Substance Use Disorder – alcohol and drugs – mild, moderate, and severe. ALAViDA connects patients with behavioral coaches, therapists, and physicians who work as a team to deliver personalized care right to their smartphones. ALAViDA is an employee benefit with varying plans and personalized therapeutic programs, which has proven to minimize time out of the workplace. Traditional rehab often costs $30,000 or more a month. ALAViDA’s program is a mere fraction of that. More than 79 percent of those signed on reported increased control, and 86 percent reduced substance use. To learn more visit www.alavida.co

About LifeSpeak Inc.

LifeSpeak is a leading software-as-a-service provider of a platform for mental health and total wellbeing education for organizations committed to taking care of their employees and customers. With 17+ years of experience creating and curating thousands of expert-led micro-learning videos and other digital content, LifeSpeak’s proprietary library’s depth and breadth of easily consumable content helps companies around the world support their people anytime and anywhere. LifeSpeak serves a diverse global client base across many industries and sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, insurance providers, and other health technology firms.

To learn more, follow LifeSpeak on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/lifespeak-inc), or visit www.LifeSpeak.com.

Read more here. 

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.

Hidden Barriers—A Webinar

Hidden Barriers to Successful Substance Use Treatment: Registration to Webinar Now Open

ALAViDA honours Mental Illness Awareness Week with webinar to help employers & benefits providers understand the need for stigma-free treatment

Canada’s leading virtual provider of evidence-based substance use treatment – offers free resources to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, aimed at helping employers and benefits providers understand how to support employees who struggle with substance use.

“Substance Use Isn’t Easy to Spot: How to Take the First Step So Employees Get the Help They Need”, October 19, 12:00-1:00 pm EST, shows participants how an empathetic approach to managing substance use would ensure more employees reveal their challenges earlier, resulting in greater outcomes.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadians report unprecedented stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. 40% say their mental health has deteriorated since the pandemic and since 30 per cent of all mental health diagnoses involve substance use, ALAViDA emphasizes the importance of removing barriers to information and access to substance use treatment.

The focus for Mental Illness Awareness Week is the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness such as depression and anxiety, which often occur in tandem with Substance Use Disorders. According to Dr. Terri-Lynn MacKay, ALAViDA’s clinical director, “Substance use remains one of the most poorly treated disorders. Our webinar will help people understand the connection between emotion and substance use and the ways people have used substances to cope during the pandemic. I liken emotional avoidance to trying to repeatedly squeeze a balloon into a box. Parts of it keep popping out and present in unhealthy coping responses. We’ll show employers and benefits providers how to effectively deflate that balloon in a manner that decreases substance use and increases employee mental health.”

The pandemic has turned business in Canada upside down: disrupted supply chains, resulted in layoffs or forced valued employees to quit. Some workers will continue to work remotely; others look forward to returning to the office, which ensures continued communication and management challenges. Add to all that, the tail of mental health and substance use challenges, which experts predict will continue for a long time. Canadian businesses have made significant gains supporting employees as they face mental health setbacks. Yet substance use, which over 20 per cent of Canadians will struggle with in their lifetimes, remains steeped in stigma. People so fear the shame that comes with being labeled as a substance user, that only 1 in 10 seek help.

“What many managers don’t understand is that stigma is baked into workplace substance use policies” says Jonathan Chapnick, a lawyer with Portage Legal Services and webinar panelist. “That stigma often prevents an employee from getting the help they need.”

Two industry leaders – Lianne Clarke, VP, Wellness and Disability Innovation & Growth with the Cowan Insurance Group and Stéphanie Clément, Manager, Training and Development with DMI Disability Management Institute share their frank insights and experiences in the challenges of creating effective substance use benefits.

“We know the pandemic has also created skilled worker shortages,” explains Elliot Stone, ALAViDA’s CEO. “Companies that learn to address substance use in a contemporary, compassionate manner pre-disability will ensure their employees feel supported during this extra-ordinary time.” Sign up for the webinar and download the white paper on the subject “Substance Use Isn’t Easy To Spot: How to Take the First Step So Employees Get the Help They Need”.

Click here to read more.

Access the ALAViDA TRAiL app.