Trajectories of Return to Work Among People on Sick Leave with Mood or Anxiety Disorders: Secondary Analysis from a Randomized Controlled Trial Purpose The return to work (RTW) of people with mood and anxiety disorders is a heterogeneous process. We aimed to identify prototypical trajectories of RTW over a two-year period in people on sick leave with mood and anxiety disorders, and investigate if socio-demographic or clinical factors predicted trajectory membership. Methods We used data from the randomized IPS-MA trial (n = 283), evaluating a supported employment intervention for participants with recently diagnosed mood or anxiety disorders. Information on “weeks in employment in the past 6 months” was measured after 1/2, 1, 1 ½ and 2 years, using data from a nationwide Danish register (DREAM). Latent growth mixture modelling analysis was carried out to identify trajectories of RTW and logistic regression analyses were used to estimate predictors for trajectory membership. Results Four trajectory classes of RTW were identified; non-RTW [70% (196/283)] (practically no return to work); delayed-RTW [19% (56/283)] (6 months delay before full RTW); rapid-unstable-RTW [7% (19/283)] (members rapidly returned to work, but only worked half the time); and the smallest class, rapid-RTW [4% (12/283)] (members rapidly reached full employment, but later experienced a decrease in weeks of employment). Self-reported disability score according to the SDS, not living with a partner, and readiness to change on the CQ scale were found to be significantly associated with RTW. Conclusions The trajectories identified support that many do not benefit from vocational rehabilitation, or experience difficulties sustaining employment; enhanced support of this patient group is still warranted.

Source: Hellström L, Madsen T, Nordentoft M, Bech P, Eplov LF, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, Vol. 28(4), p.666-677, 2018 Dec.

Mental health problem or workplace problem or something else: what contributes to work perception?

Purpose Work perception is an important predictor for work ability and, therefore, of interest for rehabilitation. Until now it is unclear to which extent different psychological aspects explain work perception. This study investigates in which way workplace problems on the one hand, and mental health and coping on the other hand, contribute to work perception. Methods A heterogeneous sample of 384 persons in working age with and without mental health problems was recruited. Participants gave self-reports on workplace problems, mental health problems, work-coping, work-anxiety, and work perception. Results Persons with mental health problems and workplace problems (M + W) perceive the highest degree of work demands, followed by persons with workplace problems but without mental health problems (NM + W). Work-anxiety appeared as the strongest factor explaining perception of high work demands, whereas general mental health problems did not contribute significantly to variance explanation. Conclusions Persons with specific mental health problems in terms of work-anxiety may be expected to perceive higher work demands. They may be detected when asking for work perception, e.g., within the frame of return-to-work interventions in rehabilitation, or in occupational health settings by mental hazard analysis. Implications for rehabilitation Work perception is an important predictor for work ability. Work-anxiety plays a key role for work perception. Thus, work perception and work anxiety should be explored in the diagnostic phase of rehabilitation treatments. Work-anxiety should be considered not only in rehabilitation diagnostics and interventions in clinical settings, but considered in preventive activities at work: Self-ratings on work-anxiety and work perception (instead of general wellbeing) may be included in assessments for workplace exploration, or mental hazard analysis. They give hints concerning concrete work-related health problems.

Source: Muschalla B, Henning A, Haake TW, Cornetz K, Olbrich D, Disability and Rehabilitation, p. 1-8, 2018 Nov.

Use of a mental health guideline by occupational physicians and associations with return to work in workers sick-listed due to common mental disorders: a retrospective cohort study

Purpose The aim of this study was to evaluate (1) whether adherence to the Dutch occupational mental health guideline by occupational physicians was associated with time to return to work in workers sick-listed due to common mental disorders; and (2) whether adherence to specific guideline items was associated with time to return to work. Methods Twelve performance indicators were developed to assess occupational physicians’ guideline adherence. Medical records of 114 sick-listed workers were audited. Performance indicators were scored as indicating no (0), minimal (1) or adequate adherence (2). Cox regression analysis was used to assess the association between guideline adherence and first or full return to work. Results Guideline adherence was predominantly minimal on most performance indicators. This low overall adherence was not associated with first return to work (Hazard Ratio 1.07, p = 0.747) or with full return to work (Hazard Ratio 1.25, p = 0.301). Only one performance indicator (regular contact between occupational physician and employer) was significantly associated with earlier full return to work (Hazard Ratio 1.87, p = 0.021). Conclusions Overall, the guideline adherence of occupational physicians was not related to earlier return to work. However, there was considerable room for improvement in guideline use. Whether this leads to earlier return to work is still an ununanswered question. Implications for Rehabilitation: Adherence of occupational physicians to an evidence-based occupational mental health guideline was low. Regular contact between occupational physician and employer was associated with earlier full return to work in workers with common mental disorders. It is important to focus on how implementation problems and barriers for guideline use can be overcome, in order to improve the quality of occupational mental health care and to potentially reduce sickness absence duration in workers with common mental disorders.

Source: van Beurden KM, Joosen MCW, Terluin B, van Weeghel J, van der Klink JJL, Brouwers EPM, Disability & Rehabilitation, Vol. 40 (22), p.2623-2631, 2018 Nov.

Return-to-Work Following Depression: What Work Accommodations Do Employers and Human Resources Directors Put in Place? 

Purpose The magnitude of economic and social costs related to common mental disorders has a profound impact on the workplace. Returning to work following depression is, therefore, a major issue for all stakeholders involved (employee, employer, human resources director, union, physician, etc.). Considering their role in the organization, Human Resources Directors (HRD) and employers have a decisive impact on the return-to-work (RTW) process. This study aims to determine which RTW accommodations are implemented, following depression, by one of the central stakeholders: HRD and employers. Methods 219 HRD/employers participated in a semi-structured telephone interview about RTW of employees after depression. From that interview, the question related to this article was: Do you put in place work accommodations for employees after a sick leave due to depression (yes or no)? If their response was positive, we asked: If yes, what were the work accommodations? Results 170 HRD/employers specified accommodations. The most common categories identified were related to: work schedule, task modifications, job change and work environment change. Accommodations directly related to the employee or the colleagues were considerably less mentioned and those concerning other RTW stakeholders, including supervisor, were almost absent. Conclusions Our results suggest that accommodations directly related to work aspects seemed to predominate in our sample of HRD/employers when an employee returned-to-work following depression. The relational aspect and the involvement of the different stakeholders are also not prioritized to accommodate the RTW. These results contrast with employer best practice guidelines for the RTW of workers with common mental disorders.

Source: Bastien MF, Corbière M, Journal Of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2018 Jul.

Sickness absence: a systematic review and meta-analysis of psychological treatments for individuals on sick leave due to common mental disorders

Purpose Sick leave due to common mental disorders (CMDs) increase rapidly and present a major societal challenge. The overall effect of psychological interventions to reduce sick leave and symptoms has not been sufficiently investigated and there is a need for a systematic review and meta-analysis of the field. The aim of the present meta-analysis was to calculate the effect size of psychological interventions for CMDs on sick leave and psychiatric symptoms based on all published randomized controlled trials. Methods Methodological quality, the risk of bias and publication bias were also assessed. Results The literature searches gave 2240 hits and 45 studies were included. The psychological interventions were more effective than care as usual on both reduced sick leave (g = 0.15) and symptoms (g = 0.21). There was no significant difference in effect between work focused interventions, problem-solving therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or collaborative care. Conclusions We conclude that psychological interventions are more effective than care as usual to reduce sick leave and symptoms but the effect sizes are small. More research is needed on psychological interventions that evaluate effects on sick leave. Consensual measures of sick leave should be established and quality of psychotherapy for patients on sick leave should be improved.

Source: Salomonsson S, Hedman-Lagerlöf E, Öst LG, Psychological Medicine, Vol. 48 (12), p.1954-1965, 2018 Sep.

Durations of first and second periods of depression-induced sick leave among Japanese employees: the Japan sickness absence and return to work (J-SAR) study

Purpose This study aimed to clarify the difference between the durations of first and second periods of depression-induced sick leave and to identify predictors of a prolonged second period of depression-induced sick leave. Methods Among Japanese employees who were registered in the Japan sickness absence and return to work (J-SAR) study, the subjects were those employees who returned to work after an initial period of depression-induced sick leave (F3; ICD-10, based on a psychiatrist's certificate), and returned to work after a second period of depression-induced sick leave. Results The subjects' second periods of sick leave (mean: 156.9 days) were longer than their first periods of sick leave (107.3 d) (Wilcoxon test, p=0.007). In the logistic regression analysis (Table 2), "longer duration of the first period of sick leave" (Odds ratio: 3.258, 95%CI: 1.780-5.963, p<0.001) was identified as a significant predictor of a longer recurrent period of sick leave. Conclusions Individuals who experience a long initial period of depression-induced sick leave should be supported carefully by occupational health professionals after they RTW.

Source: Endo M, Haruyama Y, Mitsui K, Muto G, Nishiura C, Kuwahara K, Wada H, Tanigawa T, Industrial Health, 2018 Aug.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions aimed at enhancing return to work for sick-listed workers with common mental disorders, stress-related disorders, somatoform disorders and personality disorders

Purpose Mental disorders are associated with significant functional impairment, sickness absence and disability. The consequences of sickness absence warrant investigation into interventions aimed at enhancing return to work (RTW) for workers with mental disorders. The present systematic review and meta-analysis aim to synthesise evidence on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at enhancing RTW in sick-listed workers with mental disorders. Methods EconLit, Embase, PsychInfo, PubMed, Svemed+ and Web of Science were searched for peer-reviewed, randomised or controlled studies assessing employment-related outcomes of interventions. A meta-analysis was conducted and meta-regressions were performed to explore prespecified potential sources of heterogeneity between studies. Results The literature search yielded 3777 publications of which 42 (n=38 938) were included in the systematic review and 32 (n=9459) had appropriate data for the meta-analysis. The pooled effect size (95 % CI) was 0.14 (0.07 to 0.22). Meta-regressions revealed that the heterogeneity could not be attributed to study quality, timing of the intervention or length of the intervention. However, it could be partly explained by number of components included in the intervention, if the intervention included contact to the work place and by the disorder targeted by the intervention. Conclusions The results reveal strong evidence for interventions including contact to the work place and multicomponent interventions and moderate evidence for interventions including graded RTW. In addition, the results provide strong evidence for interventions targeting stress compared with interventions targeting other mental disorders. The findings point to important implications for policy and design of future interventions.

Source: Mikkelsen MB, Rosholm M, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2018 Jun.

Critical factors for the return-to-work process among people with affective disorders: Voices from two vocational approaches

Purpose Depression is among the major causes of disability with a negative impact on both daily life and work performance. Whilst depression is the primary cause of sick-leave and unemployment in today's workplace there is a lack of knowledge of the needs of individuals with depression regarding their return-to-work (RTW) process. Objective To explore which factors are of critical importance for people suffering from depression and who also are unemployed in their RTW-process and to explore the impact of two vocational approaches on the service users' experiences. The study included participants in two vocational rehabilitation approaches; Individual Enabling and Support (IES) and Traditional Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR). Methods Qualitative methods were applied to explore critical factors in the RTW-process. Individuals with affective disorders including depression and bipolar disorder were included. Results Three themes emerged as critical factors; Experiencing hope and power, Professionals' positive attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, and Employing a holistic perspective and integrating health and vocational service. Conclusions This study has demonstrated critical factors for the return-to-work process as experienced by persons with depression. To experience hope and power, to meet professionals that believe "you can work", who use a person-centred and holistic service approach, are such factors necessary for gaining a real job. In particular, professionals in TVR need to embrace this understanding since their services were not experienced as including these elements.

Source: Porter S, Lexén A, Johansson S, Bejerholm U, Work, 2018 May.

Development and Implementation of a Mental Health Work Rehabilitation Program: Results of a Developmental Evaluation

Purpose Long-term work disability due to common mental disorders (CMDs) is a growing problem. Yet optimal interventions remain unclear and little is known about implementation challenges in everyday practice. This study aimed to support and evaluate, in real time, the development and implementation of a work rehabilitation program (WRP) designed to promote post-CMD return-to-work (RTW). Methods A 2-year developmental evaluation was performed using a participatory approach. At program outset, the researchers held five work meetings to revise the program's logic model and discuss its underlying change theory with clinicians. Data collection tools used throughout the study period were structured charts of activities conducted with workers (n = 41); in-depth interviews with program clinicians and managers (n = 9); and participant observation during work meetings. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data underwent thematic analysis using a processual approach. Results Three types of activity were developed and implemented: individual and group interventions targeting workers, and joint activities targeting partners (physicians, employers, others). While worker-targeted activities were generally implemented as planned, joint activities were sporadic. Analysis of the implementation process revealed five challenges faced by clinicians. Determinants included clinicians, host organization, sociopolitical context and resources provided by the evaluation. Conclusions The program studied is original in that it is based on the best available scientific knowledge, yet adapted to contextual particularities. The identified implementation challenges highlight the need for greater importance to be placed on the external, non-program context to ensure sustainable implementation in everyday practice.

Source: Sylvain C, Durand MJ, Velasquez Sanchez A, Lessard N, Maillette P, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2018 May.

A Preliminary Study of Work-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy for Japanese Workers

Purpose In Japan, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been introduced in the 'Rework Programme', but its impact on return to work (RTW) has not been fully clarified. This pilot study investigated the initial efficacy of a work-focused cognitive behavioural group therapy (WF-CBGT) for Japanese workers on sick leave due to depression. Methods Twenty-three patients on leave due to depression were recruited from a mental health clinic. WF-CBGT including behavioural activation therapy, cognitive therapy, and problem-solving therapy techniques was conducted for eight weekly 150-minute sessions. Participants completed questionnaires on depression and anxiety (Kessler-6), social adaptation (Social Adaptation Self-Evaluation Scale), and difficulty in RTW (Difficulty in Returning to Work Inventory) at pre- and post-intervention time points. Rates of re-instatement after the intervention were examined. Results One participant dropped out, but 22 participants successfully completed the intervention. All scale scores significantly improved after intervention and, except for difficulty in RTW related to physical fitness, all effect sizes were above the moderate classification. All participants who completed the intervention succeeded in RTW. Conclusions Results suggested the possibility that WF-CBGT may be a feasible and promising intervention for Japanese workers on leave due to depression regardless of cross-cultural differences, but that additional research examining effectiveness using controlled designs and other samples is needed. Future research should examine the efficacy of this programme more systematically to provide relevant data to aid in the continued development of an evidence-based intervention.

Source: Ito D, Watanabe A, Takeichi S, Ishihara A, Yamamoto K, Behavioural And Cognitive Psychotherapy, p. 1-6, 2018 Jun.

How Can Supervisors Contribute to the Return to Work of Employees Who have Experienced Depression?

Purpose In Western countries, work disability due to depression is a widespread problem that generates enormous costs. Objective The goal of this study was to determine the types and prevalence of supervisor contributions during the different phases of the return-to-work (RTW) process (before and during the sick-leave absence, and during the RTW preparations) of employees diagnosed with depression. Moreover, we sought to determine which contributions actually facilitate employees’ RTW, and to identify the work accommodations most frequently implemented by supervisors at the actual time of their employee’s RTW. Methods Telephone interviews were conducted in Québec (Canada) with 74 supervisors working with employees who were already back at work or still on sick leave due to depression. A sub-sample of 46 supervisors who had already taken measures to facilitate their employees’ RTW was questioned about the work accommodations implemented. Results Most of the supervisors got along well with their employees before their sick leave and 72% stayed in contact with them during their leave. Nearly 90% of the supervisors encouraged their employees to focus primarily on their recovery before their RTW, but 43% pressured their employees to RTW as soon as possible. Cox regression analyses performed for the entire sample revealed that “the supervisors’ intention to take measures to facilitate their employees’ RTW” was the only significant predictor of the RTW at the time of the interview. The Kaplan-Meier survival curve showed that 50% of the employees were expected to RTW within the first 8 months of absence. Four of the most frequently implemented work accommodations were actions directly involving the supervisor (i.e. providing assistance, feedback, recognition, and emotional support to the employee). Conclusions This study shed light on the less explored point of view of the supervisor involved in the RTW process of employees post-depression. It highlighted the most frequent and effective supervisor contributions to the process. These results can be used to develop concrete action plans for training supervisors to contribute to the sustainable RTW of employees on sick leave due to depression.

Source: Negrini A, Corbière M, Lecomte T, Coutu MF, Nieuwenhuijsen K, St-Arnaud L, Durand MJ, Gragnano A, Berbiche D, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, Vol. 28 (2), p.279-288, 2018 Jun.

Psychotherapeutic and vocational interventions among young adults with work disability due to mental disorders in Finland

Purpose Little is known about treatment and rehabilitation received and planned among young adults with work disability due to a mental disorder. Aims To examine the implemented psychotherapeutic and vocational interventions and treatment plans among young adults with work disability due to a mental disorder. Methods Data were collected from medical records of young Finnish adults aged 18-34 with a long-term work disability history due to a mental disorder (N = 1163). The participant characteristics associated with four types of interventions were analyzed using log-binomial regression analysis. Results In total, 34% had participated in a psychotherapeutic intervention. Of the non-students, 26% had participated in vocational intervention. For 46% of the non-students, neither type of intervention was planned. Both implemented and planned psychotherapeutic interventions were associated with female sex, high education, attachment to employment, and absence of substance abuse. Low education and childhood adversity were associated with implemented vocational interventions and absence of substance abuse with planned vocational interventions. Conclusions There is an unmet need for psychotherapeutic interventions among men, among those with lower socio-economic status, and among those with poor attachment to labor market. In addition, there is a lack of vocational interventions for those with high education. People with substance abuse are largely excluded from both types of interventions.

Source: Mattila-Holappa P, Joensuu M, Ahola K, Kivekäs T, Kivimäki M, Koskinen A, Virtanen M, Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 25(3), p.213-222, 2018 May.

The evidence base for interventions targeting individuals with work-related PTSD: A systematic review and recommendations

Purpose The purpose of this study was to summarize the evidence base for interventions targeting individuals with work-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to make recommendations for clinicians and administrative decision makers involved in their rehabilitation, and to guide future research in this area. Particular attention was given to studies that were conducted in naturalistic clinical settings or in a workers’ compensation claim context. Methods Electronic searches of Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, PILOTS, and EMBASE identified 11 articles. Results Study populations included railroad personnel, police officers, disaster workers, and individuals with industrial injuries. Interventions included trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Several studies specifically targeted workers who had failed to return to work (RTW) after standard PTSD treatment. The results suggest that psychotherapy interventions are beneficial for helping clients recover from PTSD symptoms and RTW. Conclusions In studies that reported on work status, RTW rates increased over time and generally lay between 58% and 80% across follow-up time points. Narrative impressions were supplemented by calculation of Risk Differences for individuals working at pretreatment versus posttreatment. Clinical consideration, methodological issues limiting the current body of work, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Source: Torchalla I, Strehlau V, Behavior Modification, Vol. 42 (2), p.273-303, 2018 Mar.

Occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with job burnout

Purpose Occupational health care supports return to work in cases of burnout; however, there is little research on return-to-work practices. Aim To describe occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with burnout and to identify potential for the development of the practices. Methods Open-ended interviews and essays were used to collect data from 25 occupational health care professionals. A qualitative content analysis method was used. Results Occupational health care was involved in the return-to-work support in the off-work, work re-entry and maintenance phases during the return-to-work process. However, occupational health care had no influence in the advancement phase. The key return-to-work actions were: (i) defining burnout, (ii) supporting disengagement from work, (iii) supporting recovery, (iv) determining the return-to-work goal, (v) supporting re-engagement with work, (vi) monitoring the job-person match, (vii) re-evaluating the return-to-work goal, (viii) supporting the maintenance of the achieved return-to-work goal, and, where appropriate, (ix) supporting an alternative return-to-work goal. There were varied return-to-work practices among the occupational health care centers evaluated. Conclusions The occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with burnout are described with recommendations to further develop common practice guidelines.

Source: Kärkkäinen R, Saaranen T, Räsänen K, Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, p.1-11, 218 Feb.

Subtypes in clinical burnout patients enrolled in an employee rehabilitation program: Differences in burnout profiles, depression, and recovery/resources-stress balance

Purpose Burnout is generally perceived a unified disorder with homogeneous symptomatology across people (exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy). However, increasing evidence points to intra-individual patterns of burnout symptoms in non-clinical samples such as students, athletes, healthy, and burned-out employees. Different burnout subtypes might therefore exist. Yet, burnout subtypes based on burnout profiles have hardly been explored in clinical patients, and the samples investigated in previous studies were rather heterogeneous including patients with various physical, psychological, and social limitations, symptoms, and disabilities. Therefore, the aim of this study is to explore burnout subtypes based on burnout profiles in clinically diagnosed burnout patients enrolled in an employee rehabilitation program, and to investigate whether the subtypes differ in depression, recovery/resources-stress balance, and sociodemographic characteristics. Methods One hundred three patients (66 women, 37 men) with a clinical burnout diagnosis, who were enrolled in a 5 week employee rehabilitation program in two specialized psychosomatic clinics in Austria, completed a series of questionnaires including the Maslach Burnout Inventory—General Survey (MBI-GS), the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Work. Cluster analyses with the three MBI-GS subscales as clustering variables were used to identify the burnout subtypes. Subsequent multivariate/univariate analysis of variance and Pearson chi-square tests were performed to investigate differences in depression, recovery/resources-stress balance, and sociodemographic characteristics. Results Three different burnout subtypes were discovered: the exhausted subtype, the exhausted/cynical subtype, and the burned-out subtype. The burned-out subtype and the exhausted/cynical subtype showed both more severe depression symptoms and a worse recovery/resources-stress balance than the exhausted subtype. Furthermore, the burned-out subtype was more depressed than the exhausted/cynical subtype, but no difference was observed between these two subtypes with regard to perceived stress, recovery, and resources. Sociodemographic characteristics were not associated with the subtypes. Conclusions The present study indicates that there are different subtypes in clinical burnout patients (exhausted, exhausted/cynical, and burned-out), which might represent patients at different developmental stages in the burnout cycle. Future studies need to replicate the current findings, investigate the stability of the symptom patterns, and examine the efficacy of rehabilitation interventions in different subtypes.

Source: Bauernhofer K, Bassa D, Canazei M, Jiménez P, Paechter M, Papousek I, Fink A, Weiss EM, BMC Psychiatry, Vol 18, 2018 Jan.

Evaluating sickness absence duration by musculoskeletal and mental health issues: a retrospective cohort study of Scottish healthcare workers

Purpose Sickness absence (SA) among healthcare workers is associated with occupational and non-occupational risk factors and impacts employee health, healthcare delivery and patient health. At the same time, healthcare is one of the employment sectors with the highest rates of work-related ill health in the UK. Musculoskeletal (MSK) and mental health (MH) issues are leading causes of SA, but there is a lack of research on how certain MSK/MH conditions impact on SA duration. The study aim is to determine differences in SA duration by MH and MSK disorders in healthcare employees. Methods Survival analyses were used to estimate SA duration due to MSK and MH problems over 6 years, and Cox's proportional hazards models to determine the HRs of returning to work, using a bespoke Scottish health board database with over 53 000 SA events. SA duration and time to return-to-work (RTW) were estimated for employees by age, gender, job and health conditions. Results MSK and MH conditions accounted for 27% and 6% of all SA events and 23.7% and 19.5% of all days lost, respectively. Average SA duration was 43.5 days for MSK and 53.9 days for MH conditions. For MSK conditions, employees with low back or neck pain had the fastest RTW (median P50: 7 days), whereas employees absent due to depression took the longest (P50: 54 days). The most influential sociodemographic variables affecting RTW were age, gender and job category. Conclusions Using a unique and rich database, we found significant differences in SA duration by presenting condition in healthcare workers. MH conditions, and depression specifically, accounted for the most working days' absence. Significant variations in duration were also observed for MSK conditions. Our findings can inform public health practitioners and healthcare managers of the most significant factors impacting MSK-related and MH-related SA to develop and implement tailored and targeted workplace interventions.

Source: Demou E, Smith S, Bhaskar A, Mackay DF, Brown J, Hunt K, Vargas-Prada S, Macdonald EB, BMJ Open, Vol. 8 (1), p. e018085, 2018 Jan.

Perspectives of unemployed workers with mental health problems: barriers to and solutions for return to work

Purpose To evaluate the barriers to and solutions for return to work (RTW) from the perspective of unemployed workers who were sick-listed due to mental health problems. Methods We conducted semi-structured interviews with 25 sick-listed unemployed workers with mental health problems. Qualitative data analysis was performed, using a process of identifying, coding, and categorising the patterns in data. Results All workers experienced multiple problems in different domains of life related to their disease, personal circumstances (e.g., divorced, debts) and their environment (e.g., labour market problems, issues with the Social Security Agency). Workers differed in the way they perceived their RTW process and in the extent to which they were able to envision and implement the solutions for RTW, thus resulting in three types of workers’ attitudes towards their own RTW process: (1) “frozen”; (2) “insightful though passive”; and (3) “action mode”. Conclusions We conclude that the sick-listed unemployed workers with mental health problems have to deal with multiple problems, of which medical problems are only a part. These workers need help aimed at their coping methods according to one of the three types of workers’ characteristics. Moreover, they need specific help organising and structuring their problems, getting their life back on track, and finding employment. Implications for Rehabilitation Unemployed workers with mental health problems face considerable challenges which impede their return to work. Evaluating the workers’ attitude may provide useful information on their own return-to-work process.In many cases, workers indicate a need for coaching to help them with problem-solving, planning, gaining structure, getting their life back on track, and finding employment. Rehabilitation professionals should tailor RTW interventions to the needs of these workers, aimed at their specific problems and taking into account the workers’ coping methods according to one of three types of workers’ attitudes towards their own RTW process.

Source: Audhoe SS, Nieuwenhuijsen K, Hoving JL, Sluiter JK, Frings-Dresen MHW, Disability & Rehabilitation, Vol. 40 (1), p.28-34, 2018 Jan.

Focusing on employment in primary mental health care: A scoping review

Purpose People with mental health issues usually access primary health care services but employment status and/or return to work is not typically an explicit focus of a general practice consultation.This scoping review aims to investigate the broad range of interventions used in primary health care to effectively support people with mental health issues to choose, get, or keep employment. Methods A literature search was conducted using five electronic databases. Peer reviewed research articles published between 1996 and February 2016 were included in the review. Results Twelve studies explored work related interventions for people with mental health issues in the primary health care context. The most commonly used intervention was sickness certification, other interventions that show promise were identified but there is limited empirical evidence to show their effectiveness in relation to improving employment outcomes. General practitioners identified a range of barriers in terms of focusing on employment outcomes for patients including knowledge and confidence in understanding the impact of work on symptoms and limited access to advice or services to refer patients to. Conclusions This review suggests that work focused interventions situated in primary health care settings appear to be a promising approach for people with mental health issues. However, various barriers impact the implementation of an employment approach, with limited comparisons between different effective interventions. In the context of increasing numbers of people presenting with mental health issues, future research should address the implementation and effectiveness of work-focused interventions based in primary health care.

Source: Reed K, Kalaga H, Work, 2018 Jan.

Cognitive work hardening for return to work following depression: An intervention study: Le réentraînement cognitif au travail pour favoriser le retour au travail à la suite d'une dépression : étude d'intervention

Purpose Work absences due to depression are prevalent; however, few interventions exist to address the return-to-work challenges following a depressive episode.This mixed-methods study aimed to (a) evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive work hardening in preparing people with depression to return to work and (b) identify key elements of the intervention. Methods A single group (n=21) pretest-posttest study design was used incorporating self-report measures (Work Ability Index, Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue, Beck Depression Inventory II) with interviews at intervention completion and at 3-month follow-up. Descriptive statistics, paired-samples t test, and content analysis were used to analyze the data. Results Work ability, fatigue, and depression severity significantly improved postintervention. Participants identified structure, work simulations, realism of simulated work environment, support, and education as key intervention elements. Conclusions Findings underscore an occupationally focused return-to-work intervention for people recovering from depression with potential for wider adoption and future research.

Source: Wisenthal A, Krupa T, Kirsh BH, Lysaght R, Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2018 Jan.