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Returning to work after mental health problems: cooperation and alliances between healthcare institutions and companies in the return to work process

Project number: F 2414 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Completed Project

Description:

In recent years, interventions which are characterised by a closer collaboration between corporate and medical/therapeutic players have been developed to support employees with common mental disorders (CMD) in returning to work. The aim of the study, which was funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation, was to investigate a sample of such interventions, to work out their strengths and limits with regard to successful reintegration and to give advice on developing them further and disseminating them.

For this purpose, group discussions and interviews were conducted with corporate and medical/therapeutic players, as well as employees with CMD. Using the documentary method to analysis, we were able to distinguish two approaches: a person orientated self-management approach and a systemic case management approach. The first approach focuses on the question of what employees themselves can do to return to their job after a mental health crisis. Additionally, the second approach asks what can be done at the workplace to support such employees in returning to work.

The greatest strength of the self-management approach is the promotion of self-care for employees with CMD. However, this approach carries the danger of giving the person affected sole responsibility for their illness, its causes and mastering it. The systemic approach, on the other hand, promises sustainability through a combination of individual-based and corporate measures. The challenge of this systemic approach is finding the right balance between individual self-care and occupational health care. The results of the study suggest that a well-balanced systemic approach can better contribute to successful reintegration.

Publications

Contact

Unit 3.5 "Evidence-based Occupational Health, Workplace Health Management"

Phone: +49 231 9071-1971 Fax: +49 231 9071-2070

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