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What is the approach to mental health problems in working life?

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 21.11.2017 13.05 | Published in English on 23.11.2017 at 15.16
News item

The 2017 Mental Health Barometer has been released. For the first time the theme of the barometer is working life.

Senior Officer Jaana Vastamäki from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health explains on the video how we approach mental health problems in working life and how we can help fellow employees who are recovering from mental health problems cope better at work and continue working.

Link to video:: https://youtu.be/KdVlV9Gf_ns

Text version of the interview

What is the approach to mental health problems in working life?

"At work people tend to have a positive approach to their fellow employees who have mental health problems. Work communities are, for example, prepared to get coaching on how to meet a fellow employee who is returning to work after taking sick leave. Another example is that workplaces are interested in adjusting their practices in response to employees’ health status.

However, only around half of the workplaces that responded to the barometer had made adjustments, probably because they did not have enough knowledge and know-how to carry them out.

Another explanation could be that workplaces do not necessarily know about their employees’ health status. This is because people do not necessarily want to discuss their mental health problems at their workplace, as was indicated by many respondents."

How can we help employees with mental health issues cope better at work and continue working?

"Workplaces should first create models and methods for early intervention. However, work adjustment could help those employees who have already lost some of their ability to work.

Occupational health services can help the workplace plan and implement these measures. Family, friends and peers are the most important sources of support for people who are recovering from mental health problems. They also need support from their colleagues and managers."

Additional information

Mental Health Barometer: Work career can continue despite mental health problems

Read more about the Mental Health Barometer (in Finnish)