Share Shrewsbury, founded by former mayor Jane Mackenzie, is organising a ground-breaking two-day international conference ‘Alcohol – sharing the truth’ on November 18 and 19.
She said: “We are inviting our wonderful local businesses to join us in tackling the steep rise in workplace drinking, and to look at better ways to support employees.
“It is an opportunity for businesses to have their brand associated with the big issues of alcohol dependence and mental wellbeing in the workplace.
"In seeking solutions which will improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for workers, Share is doing something remarkable, but we need the backing of businesses to succeed.
“We want to reach out to local businesses and give them the confidence to support their workforce who may be struggling with alcohol dependence.
“All the evidence shows a strong link between alcohol use and mental health issues, so we cannot afford to ignore the one in every five employees who will need help with this.”
Jane, who lost her daughter, Amy Liebich, to alcohol addiction, added: “The cost to businesses of ignoring the impact of workplace drinking is far greater than the cost of supporting those employees.
"So it makes sense for employers to put measures in place to address these issues and improve productivity.
“It makes economic sense for businesses to support their workers.
"A recent report from Deloitte shows that businesses can reap a fivefold return on their investment in the wellbeing of their employees.”
She said there is a ‘huge stigma’ associated with dependent drinking which means that sufferers often feel they can’t admit their problem.
“The tragedy is that by not seeking help early on, sufferers are far more likely to lose much more, including their health and even their life," she said.
“So it is in everyone’s best interest to stop ignoring the damage caused by alcohol and join together to change the way we think about drinking.”
She added that one of the keynote speakers, Lauren Booker, is a national expert in reducing alcohol-related workplace harm.
She will be talking about why and how local businesses can develop policies to address dependent drinking amongst their workforce.
Businesses wishing to help can contact Jane by emailing email@example.com