Work normally makes a very positive contribution to mental health; it gives people a sense of identity, social contact with colleagues, satisfaction from team and individual achievement, and wages to spend on home, family and leisure.
At IOH, here in the Northeast, 40-60% of the cases we see in our Occupational Health clinics are referred for psychological health problems. Early referral is most effective because IOH nurses and physicians have expertise in advising Managers and employees how work can be a pivotal part of the recovery process. We can identify the important work factors that can be influenced to assist an individual regain psychological health or to prevent deterioration. We can give advice to the employee about sources of support outside work, and we can provide hope and reassurance to the employee that “good” work can be part of successful treatment. We know the importance of liaising with Managers on ways that can be achieved.
For employees with psychological problems, Occupational Health acts as the “bridge” between home, the GP or specialist, and the employee’s workplace or work Manager. Our advice is not formulaic, but is tailored to the individual, their particular circumstances, and their specific job. Without Occupational Health input, Managers are often uncertain of how best to support an employee with psychological ill-health, and they worry about being insensitive or taking actions that might make things worse. IOH’s experienced Occupational Health staff advise Managers on the “how, what or when” an employer’s actions can help a worker with mental health problems (and warn of what not to do) in these difficult cases.
If you think that Occupational Health might help you or your employees – get in touch with the IOH team to learn more.
Dr J Broome – 18th May 2015