Review targets anxiety and depression help at work

A major review of what can be done to help employers and managers better manage mental ill-health in the workplace is being co-ordinated by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF).

The ‘gold standard’ review will look at all the evidence of what can be done in the workplace, both by organisations and individual managers.

It will look in particular at the issues and evidence associated with people who are suffering from depression, anxiety and other disorders.

The project started at the end of April and is a partnership between BOHRF, NHS Plus, The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, the charity Mentality and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

The multi-disciplinary working group includes members from across a range of key professional groups and is working under the chairmanship of Dr Kit Harling, director of NHS Plus.

BOHRF has estimated that mental ill health in the workplace is costing business and the country some 3.9bn a year, including the loss of people with key skills.

“Many people who go off sick with mental health problems could return to work more quickly and successfully if companies were able to respond in a more timely and effective way,” the foundation suggested.

In a separate development, research has found the needs of people seeking treatment in primary care for mental health conditions are often going unmet.

The study, for the British Journal of Psychiatry, looked at patients attending general practices in mid-Cheshire between July 1998 and May 2000.

Of 336 people seeking treatment interviewed, 59.6 per cent reported unmet needs.

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