For those who become concerned that a colleague is struggling with substance abuse or a gambling addiction, it can be very difficult to know how to help. “Our employees should know that Omega, as an Akan company, can provide advice and counseling in these difficult situations,” says Kjersti Reiersen, our Akan contact.
Since becoming an Akan company in 2007, Omega has offered advice and counseling for employees who experience addiction problems. An Akan representative does not provide a diagnosis or treatment, but can act as a counselor that follows the process through prospective treatment possibilities.
“Akan will be there to help, not to judge or enforce moral standpoints,” says Reiersen, emphasizing that the whole process is held strictly confidential and anonymous.
“Addiction problems are often still considered taboo topics and are serious challenges for those involved, leaving them feeling quite vulnerable. I am experienced in handling difficult situations associated with these issues and feel capable of offering assistance. I wish to contribute in a good way for those who need help before their situation gets out of hand.”
“Akan provides a service that is easily accessible and one in which all questions and referrals are taken seriously and followed up. Again, confidentiality is, of course, strictly enforced,” says Reiersen.
“With regards to alerting someone about a colleague, it is better to do so once too often rather than not at all. Usually one notifies a Department Manager, but one can also notify the Akan contact directly. Getting help through the Akan program is completely voluntary, and the person in question may choose not to use the Akan services at any time, "says Reiersen.
Omega’s Akan contact is on hand to advise our Department Managers on how they can deal both with possible concerns and actual situations in which members of our team are experiencing difficulties due to substance abuse or gambling.
- “The necessary conversation’ is a conversation based on a concern that a colleague is struggling with substance abuse or a gambling addiction. A concern or suspicion may occur due to increased sick leave, or a change in their behavior or efforts at work. This conversation gives the employee the possibility of implementing changes in their life to improve the situation,” explains Reiersen.
The process starts with ‘the necessary conversation’; followed by several possible courses of action:
In 2007, the Working Environment Committee decided that Omega would become an Akan company, in order to better deal with situations regarding substance abuse and addiction. When Omega became an Akan company, a new substance abuse policy was also introduced.