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Formative qualitative evaluation of an early intervention at the workplace (FRIAA) for employees with common mental disorders

Project number: F 2525 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2024-05-31


Given the fact that both mental crises and disorders are the second most frequently diagnosed cause for work incapacity, it has become more important than ever to support people with common mental disorders (CMDs) and strengthen their work ability. This can be done by providing flexible offers, which combine medical-therapeutic and work-related measures and take place at an early stage.

Against this background, the project called “Early Intervention in the Workplace” (Frühe Intervention am Arbeitsplatz, friaa) was designed with the aim to develop and manualise a modularised work-related psychotherapeutic intervention. A total of 8 cooperation partners across Germany are involved: universities and hospitals of Ulm, Düsseldorf, Hildesheim, Erlangen, Heidelberg, Günzburg, as well as the Rehabilitation Centre Seehof in Teltow, and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Berlin (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA). For further information please visit

The aim of friaa is that employees with mental health issues receive prompt and easily accessible support and treatment. For this reason, the intervention includes a combination of prevention, early treatment, work-related psychotherapy and collaboration between key (mental) health care professionals. One of the goals of the module-based and work-related psychotherapy (Modulare, arbeitsplatzbezogene Psychotherapie, MAP) is, to facilitate the return to work process or to ensure that people stay at work.

Besides that, friaa is accompanied by a randomised controlled multicentre process evaluation and a qualitative evaluation. BAuA takes responsibility for the qualitative evaluation: A sample of 25 study participants will be interviewed and four group discussions with therapists and company representatives will be carried out. The aim is to identify facilitating and hindering factors with regard to the various intervention modules within friaa as well as the different contextual conditions such as company size and structure.

In case of a positive evaluation, there is a prospect of transferring the “module-based and work-related psychotherapeutic intervention” to regular mental health care. The project “Early Intervention at the Workplace” (friaa) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and is implemented over a period of 4 years.


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

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