Dr Doreen Miller, a specialist in occupational medicine and founder of
Miller Health Management, explained that information overload is the reason
mental health problems are now the second biggest cause of sickness absence.
The growth of the service industry and new means of communication such as
mobile phones and e-mail are overloading staff with information, she said.
Nowadays when they have problems, this makes it more likely to be a mental
problem, rather than a physical one.
Miller offered delegates some useful advice on the importance of early
intervention, appropriate referral to OH for advice, good case management,
ongoing communication and a well-designed rehabilitation programme.
She said that OH professionals are best placed to address mental health in
the workplace because they are trained to understand the effects of work on
health and health on work.
During the rehabilitation process, OH staff are key in communicating the
client’s needs to the line manager, she said.
Miller also advised listeners to be proactive rather than reactive. "Do
you have a well-being policy in place to reduce levels of stress?" she
She also pointed out that stress is ‘a state, not a diagnosis’ as stated on
the HSE website, which offers lots of advice on reducing levels of stress.