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Post-Holiday Screening Blues: Mental Health, Substance Use & Safety

December 5, 2023

Addressing Mental Health, Substance Use, and Safety in the Workplace

Navigating the Aftermath of Holidays with Workplace Screening

As we settle into the holiday season, it's crucial to acknowledge the often-overlooked aspect of workplace well-being – mental health and substance use. The festive season, while joyous for many, can be a period of heightened stress and challenges for others. This can sometimes lead to increased substance use and mental health concerns, which, in turn, affect workplace safety and productivity. In this blog, we delve into the importance of comprehensive screening processes that consider these factors, ensuring a healthy, safe, and supportive work environment.

Understanding the Post-Holiday Scenario with Employees

The post-holiday period often brings a unique set of challenges. Employees may return to work dealing with financial strains from holiday spending, emotional stress from family gatherings, or health issues exacerbated by holiday excesses. Holidays can also be a lonely time for those who are not close to family or who have suffered recent losses. These factors can contribute to an increase in co-occurring mental health issues and substance use – concerns that employers need to sensitively and effectively address.

The Role of Workplace Screening

Workplace screening plays a pivotal role in identifying and addressing these issues. But beyond the traditional checks for compliance and safety, screening processes should also focus on substance use. This approach not only helps in early identification and intervention but also fosters a culture of care and support within the organization.

Incorporating Mental Health into Screening

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Including access to EAPs in screening can help employees deal with post-holiday stress, substance use, or mental health concerns.
  • Awareness and Education: Use the screening and rescreening process as an opportunity to educate employees about the signs of substance use, and the resources available to them.
  • Confidentiality and Support: Ensure that screening for substance use and conversations about any mental health concerns that arise occur with utmost confidentiality and sensitivity. The immediate focus should be on support and rehabilitation, not disciplinary action.

Addressing Substance Use Post-Holidays

  • Random Drug Testing: Implementing or continuing a policy of random drug testing can deter substance use and ensure workplace safety.

  • Reasonable Suspicion: Ensure managers across the enterprise are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of substance abuse, both for employees who work at a job site and those who may work from home. Clear policies and procedures around reasonable suspicion should always guide manager actions in these circumstances
  • Support for Substance Abuse: If substance misuse or abuse is identified or suspected, provide resources and support for recovery, including counseling services or referrals to treatment programs.
  • Creating a Safe Environment: Foster an environment where employees feel safe to seek help for substance use without fear of stigma or job loss.

Other Resources for Employers

Wrapping Up: Addressing Post-Holiday Screening for Timely Intervention in Workplace Wellness

The post-holiday period is a critical time to focus on the overall well-being of employees, which includes mental health and substance use. By addressing these topics in the workplace, employers can not only help ensure a safer work environment but also demonstrate their commitment to their employees' holistic well-being. This approach aids in building a supportive workplace culture and contributes to the long-term health and productivity of the workforce.

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The information and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only and are based on current practice, industry related knowledge and business expertise. The information provided shall not be construed as legal advice, express or implied. Consult with legal counsel before any action is taken or not taken in relation to information disseminated in this resource.