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Mental Health & Addiction Among Working Parents & Children Affects the Bottom Line: Research Shows Staggering Economic Impact

Groundbreaking International Forum to Discuss Solutions

BOSTON, May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, a network of senior business executives and clinical scientific leaders, will host a forum on Mental Health and Productivity at Harvard University today. The forum is the third in a series of four that examines the role businesses play in ensuring the mental well being of employees and their families.

The forum will address the reduced productivity of parents whose children are diagnosed with mental health and addiction problems, as well as the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. The goal is to build a framework for employers to help parents manage their own mental health and that of their children.

The Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy estimates that nine percent of employees are currently caring for a child with special needs. The World Health Organization has also found that the number of children in the U.S. and Canada showing an early onset of mental illness continues to increase.

This is a critical issue for employers in light of the staggering economic impact that depression and substance abuse has on the US and Canadian economies, which the Roundtable estimates to be around $300 billion. Beyond financial considerations, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that, if current trends persist, depression will cause more human disability and early deaths by 2020 than war, cancer, traffic accidents and AIDS combined.

"Like drinking and driving with your kids, not taking the dangers of mental health and addiction seriously is risky behavior," says Bill Wilkerson, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health.

Canada's Ambassador to the US, Michael Wilson, launched the series at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and the US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, hosted the second in Ottawa.

The forum will have more than 70 participants, including parents, clinical and scientific leaders and senior executives of American and Canadian companies. Guests will also include officials from diplomatic, government, military, law enforcement and local communities.

"Organizations need to empower working parents to learn about and respond to mental health and addiction in their families," said Dr. Susan Blank, Vice- President of Clinical Services at Caron Treatment Centers. "Not enough families reach out for help and we want them to know they are not alone - there is hope and a second chance at life."

At the forum, Canadian and American parents will discuss their experiences in coping with their children's mental illness and addiction issues and the challenge of navigating the health care system.

"Employers have a strong economic incentive to invest in the mental health of working Canadians and Americans," said Dr. Ronald Kessler, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, a leading authority on mental health in the workplace and co-chair of the US/Canada Forum.

Edgar Kaiser, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Resources and philanthropist, will deliver the keynote address. It will highlight the prevalence of depression, anxiety and substance abuse throughout the lifespan of working parents and the enormous economic and social implications.

In addition, Eileen M. Brennan, Ph.D., of Portland State University's School of Social Work, will share highlights from more than a decade of research on the challenges that parents of children with mental health and addiction issues experience in the workplace as they attempt to manage both caregiver and employment responsibilities. Their findings will be published in Work, Life, and the Mental Health System of Care, due out July 2008.

Following the forum, commercial real estate company, Cushman and Wakefield (US) and Cushman and Wakefield LePage (Canada) will "test pilot" a model for the workplace. In this unprecedented project, they will become the distribution center for the development, testing and dissemination of critical information to employees who are parents and/or family members dealing with this issue.

The program is in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for the Mental Health of Children and Youth at the Children's Hospital for Eastern Ontario in Ottawa; Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Virginia and Substance Abuse and the Mental Health Services Administration, Washington.

The Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health

The Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health is a network of chief and senior business executives and clinical and scientific leaders to make an enduring business and economic case for employer investments in brain health, brain research and brain literacy; reduce the costs and rates of mental disabilities in the workforce and promote improved mental health care. Official partners of the 3rd Forum are: Children's Hospital for Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, New England - Canada Business Council, Boston, NARSAD (National Alliance for Research in Depression and Schizophrenia), New York, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Washington and The Sun Life Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, Dalhousie University, Halifax

Caron Treatment Centers

Caron Treatment Centers is a nationally recognized non-profit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. With more than 50 years in the field, Caron offers primary, relapse and extended residential treatment for young adults, adults and adolescents, as well as families affected by the disease of addiction. Caron's programs are gender separate and gender specific. Caron has extensive experience in the treatment of co-occurring psychological/psychiatric disorders within our patient community. Formerly the Caron Foundation, Caron Treatment Centers operates a residential treatment center in Wernersville, in southeastern Pennsylvania; a regional office in Philadelphia; Renaissance Institute of Palm Beach, an extended care treatment center in Boca Raton, Florida; and recovery centers in New York City and Bermuda. For more information, visit


Karen Pasternack, Caron Treatment Centers


Beth Keith, Edelman


SOURCE The Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addictionand Mental
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