Facilitating an employee’s return to work following absence for a mental health problem
The IRSST just published a “Guide to an integrated practices program for supporting a return to work and promoting job retention - Facilitating an employee’s return to work following an absence for a mental health problem.”
Mental health problems in the workplace are currently one of the main causes of work absence, a phenomenon that has seen a marked increase in the past two decades. Research work in the occupational rehabilitation and mental health field has highlighted the importance of a collaborative process involving the stakeholders in the return-to-work process.
However, while a handful of studies have focused on the work reintegration of workers who held jobs but had been absent from them for mental health reasons, very few of these studies have specifically explored the design and implementation of return-to-work programs.
This guide was designed to help workplace develop a process for assisting and supporting the return to work of employees who have been absent from work for mental health reasons, ultimately to facilitate their recovery and return to work.
It is a practical guide that spells out both individual support strategies and organizational changes that can be made. The guide is intended for company executives and managers, human resources departments, and union groups concerned about workers’ health and job retention, and also for practitioners in the workplace, particularly physicians, occupational health professionals, company psychologists, and rehabilitation counsellors.
It was produced as the result of a study funded by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST). The process it describes can be adapted to the structure and practices of each workplace. Employers can draw inspiration from the authors’ recommendations to either introduce the process as it stands or modify their current practices in whole or in part.
The complete report on the study can be found on the IRSST’s Web site: Supporting a Return to Work after an Absence for a Psychological Health Problem: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Integrated Practices Program