Talking Therapies as Effective Return to Work Strategies
The authors of a review of “Work and common psychiatric disorders” have observed that companies that provide early and effective mental health support to their staff, achieve a much quicker return to work than those that don’t. The report recognises that common psychiatric disorders are now the most frequent causes of long term absence in the UK.
For example, the report claims:
- Depression has the strongest negative effect on productivity and
- Anxiety and depression are strong predictors of early retirement on ill health grounds.
Neither of which support the current social trends to increase both productivity and the age of retirement, which might suggest that companies need to be finding even more improved and effective ways to suitably support their staff.
Surprisingly, it is critical of the standard ways that companies have responded to these challenges:
- Education and training does not seem to reduce job stress or psychiatric illness,
- Psychiatric screening programs may result in over medicalisation,
- That a phased return to work is not supported by the evidence and
- Stress management programs only seem to have a “modest or short term impact.”
They explain that an early intervention, individual CBT based program has the best evidence to support its efficacy in a quicker return to work.
As the drive towards business cost savings and improved efficiency gains momentum, probably adding to the national economic burden through unemployment (creating a vicious circle), those that are still employed are likely to feel more pressure to perform. The report identifies that one of the main causes of work related psychiatric disorder is where staff put effort into work that lacks recognition or a sense of achievement.
It could be that by assessing an employee’s needs, especially those needs associated with having a sense of autonomy, meaning and status, could help businesses build more bespoke programs and provide a tangible goals for CBT intervention to address. It is, however, clear that the talking therapies continue to demonstrate their efficacy.
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