Workplace mental health: developing an integrated intervention approach

Background

Mental health problems are prevalent and costly in working populations. Workplace interventions to address common mental health problems have evolved relatively independently along three main threads or disciplinary traditions: medicine, public health, and psychology. In this Debate piece, we argue that these three threads need to be integrated to optimise the prevention of mental health problems in working populations.

Discussion

To realise the greatest population mental health benefits, workplace mental health intervention needs to comprehensively 1) protect mental health by reducing work–related risk factors for mental health problems; 2) promote mental health by developing the positive aspects of work as well as worker strengths and positive capacities; and 3) address mental health problems among working people regardless of cause. We outline the evidence supporting such an integrated intervention approach and consider the research agenda and policy developments needed to move towards this goal, and propose the notion of integrated workplace mental health literacy.

Summary

An integrated approach to workplace mental health combines the strengths of medicine, public health, and psychology, and has the potential to optimise both the prevention and management of mental health problems in the workplace.

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