Substance Abuse Treatment Is Covered by More Companies as Employers Increase Mental Health Benefits to Combat the Stressors of COVID-19


REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lionrock Behavioral Health, Inc., the leading telehealth provider of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery services in the United States predicts a 100 percent increase in company-accessed online substance abuse benefits in 2021, as stigma surrounding mental health treatment drops amid the pandemic.

Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, a mental health movement was already well underway in work cultures across the United States. Since the pandemic took hold, attention on mental health and wellness has only increased, pushing employers further – to expand mental health benefits in order to keep a healthy and productive staff. Mental health encompasses much more than anxiety and mood disorders; it also includes substance use disorders. Over 40 percent of people with a substance use disorder also have a second mental health condition, yet fewer than half (48 percent) receive treatment for either disorder.

“Online substance use disorder treatment services, as part of mental health benefits, are being accessed more than ever and will be a critical benefit for companies to offer in the future,” said Peter Loeb, Lionrock’s CEO. “Employers need to do everything they can to encourage employees to access SUD treatment either online or in-person. The more employers can eliminate the shame and stigma surrounding SUD treatment, the better it will be for their bottom line,” added Loeb.

Shame around seeking SUD treatment through company benefits is still a concern for some employees who need help, but a side effect of the pandemic is that it’s helping to weaken the stigma as more comprehensive mental health benefits become a priority.

A surprising number of Americans suffering with SUD are employed. In fact, rates of substance abuse among management professionals is 20.8 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Even more jarring: SUDs cost American society more than $740 billion every year in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses and crime-related costs, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Substance use disorder benefits are also mandated by law. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) authorizes over $181 million each year to respond to the addiction epidemic and is designed to greatly increase the availability of treatment programs to those who need them. Lionrock offers the specialized, robust level of care needed to effectively treat substance use disorders entirely online, from the intensive outpatient level through to ongoing recovery support and counseling.

Online Treatment and Support Groups Work

In the wake of COVID-19, many more people with SUD have tapped into online meetings and teletherapy sessions, taking advantage of the privacy, convenience and accessibility that online care offers. And it works; because treatment is accessed from home, patients are more likely to seek help earlier, knowing they can avoid the shame of pursuing treatment in a more traditional setting – and seeking help earlier almost always leads to better outcomes. With so many companies staying home through 2021, treatment of substance use disorders online can deliver equal, if not superior outcomes to people from the comfort of their homes.

Both Lionrock’s clinical practice and support group offerings have tripled in size in 2020 versus 2019. Since February, Lionrock has added over 50 new therapists and support staff to handle the dramatic increase it has seen in patients and participants. Demand for the company’s online treatment and support services has not slowed.

In a poll conducted this summer, 98 percent of online support group participants said they’d continue meetings online, even when in-person meetings become an option. The poll also revealed overwhelming preference for the benefits of online recovery services vs. in-person, citing greater flexibility, privacy, recovery support, connection and accountability.

For more information about online care for substance use disorders, visit www.lionrockrecovery.com.

About Lionrock

Founded in 2010, Lionrock is the leading telehealth provider of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery services in the United States. On September 15, 2020, Lionrock announced September 22 as National Online Recovery Day, created to drive widespread awareness among the 42 million people impacted by SUDs that online recovery services are available, are accessible from anywhere, and are completely private. Lionrock provides evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders, at the Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and Outpatient levels of care, including medication-assisted treatment, and continuing care. Lionrock is accredited by the Joint Commission, employs master-level licensed counselors in most states, and accepts most private health insurance. Lionrock also offers the recovery community free support group meetings, both 12-step and alternative, recognizing that recovery is a lifetime pursuit.

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