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Adapting Policies to Specific Workplaces

What Should Employers Do?

Suggestions for proactive workplace mental health policies

  • Develop a mission statement emphasizing organizational commitment to promoting the mental health and well-being of employees, including:
    • Acknowledge that bereavement and other personal and family factors may influence mental health in the workplace.
    • Acknowledge that workplace stress can contribute to or make depression worse.
    • Make a commitment to identifying factors which lead to unnecessary workplace stress, such as competing demands, job insecurity, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, and social isolation.
  • Increase understanding of the causes of depression in the workplace through awareness campaigns.
  • Develop plans aimed at reducing and managing workplace stress.
  • Support the management of depression through early recognition:
    • Training supervisors to encourage employees to seek assistance and support them when they do.
    • Promoting transparency and openness in discussions of mental health concerns.
  • Support the return to work for employees who take a leave of absence due to depression in order to preserve their skills for the organization through transparent policies, gradual re-entry back into the workplace, flexible work hours, or working from home.
  • Provide on-site access to mental health providers through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or similar initiatives.

 

Hours worked per week for depressed employees Job retention for depressed employees

Wang et al. Telephone screening, outreach, and care management for depressed workers and impact on clinical and work productivity outcomes: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2007; 298:1401-1411.