An equal percentage of Canadian employees said their employer does (27 per cent) or doesn’t (27 per cent) provide resources to help those experiencing challenges related to substance abuse, according to the latest mental-health index from LifeWorks Inc.

In addition, 40 per cent of respondents reported they either don’t know if their employer offers resources or aren’t sure what resources are available.

LifeWorks mental-health index score for May was negative 11.2 compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic benchmark. The score is lower than April’s negative 10.7, reversing a trend of steady inclines that began in December 2020.

Read: Index sees slight improvement in Canadians’ mental health in April: report

For the May version of the index, LifeWorks partnered with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to focus on substance use. It found a third (34 per cent) of respondents who use alcohol reported an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic, meanwhile a quarter (25 per cent) who said they use drugs reported an increase in their drug use.

In particular, the trend is a concern among parents, who were twice as likely to report an increase in drug use when compared to non-parents. “Mental strain has been felt across all demographics over the last year, however, the new demands and pressure that parents have faced have more negatively impacted their well-being,” said Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice-president of research and total well-being at LifeWorks, in a press release.

“Parents are expected to stay strong and act as caregivers to their family, while at the same time maintaining a professional appearance at work. Self-care and support are important given the demands and concerns they have. Unfortunately, unhealthy coping strategies, such as substance use, make things more difficult.”

Read: As substance abuse rises amid pandemic, employers can help