Phone Counseling Program Helps Workers with Depression, Study Says

The Work and Health Initiative program improved depressive symptoms along with a number of work-related outcomes, including increased productivity and fewer missed work days.

A work-focused, telephone counseling program for depressed employees not only improves depression, but also leads to increased productivity and decreased costs, according to a study in the February Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Debra Lerner, MS, Ph.D., of Tufts University and colleagues evaluated the program, called the Work and Health Initiative (WHI). Identified by an anonymous online screening survey, 79 Maine state government employees with depression and reduced job productivity were randomly assigned to the WHI program or usual medical care.

Over eight weeks, workers in the WHI group received telephone sessions with a trained counselor. Counseling included:

  • Work coaching and modification targeting job problems related to depression;
  • Coordination of care, working with patients' doctors to ensure high-quality medical treatment for depression; and
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy strategies, helping to change depression-related thoughts and behaviors that interfere with daily functioning.

The WHI program improved depressive symptoms along with a number of work-related outcomes, including increased productivity and fewer missed work days. Mainly by reducing work absences, the WHI program led to significant cost savings: more than $6,000 per worker per year, on average, the authors said.

Depression is common in working-age adults and has a significant impact on work performance—including an increased risk of job loss, according to the report. Medical treatment may not be enough to overcome depression-related work disruption. Taking a cue from work-focused treatment programs for other chronic health problems, the WHI regarded return to effective functioning as an important goal of treatment for depressed workers.

“The WHI was superior to usual care in helping employees with depression function more effectively and productively,” Lerner and coauthors wrote. While acknowledging the need for more research, they believe the WHI is a step forward in shifting treatment for depression “from a strictly biomedical to a functional paradigm.”

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2019

    May 2019

    Featuring:

    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      Why Pick a PAPR? 
    • FIRE SAFETY TRAINING
      Fire Safety: Plan, Prevent, Train, Recover
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      The Truth About Heat Stress and FRC
    • AIHCE EXP 2019 PREVIEW
      Underestimated No More
    View This Issue