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Employers can support workers’ mental health by training managers: study

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Gothenburg, Sweden — Managers whose organizations provide training or information on mental health are more likely to be proactive about their workers’ psychological well-being, results of a recent study out of Sweden show.

Researchers reviewed 3,358 responses to an online survey of workplace managers. The researchers sought to investigate “determinants of managerial preventive actions in relation to common mental disorders among employees.”

Over the two years before the survey, half the managers had reviewed their workers’ job duties and other factors with the aim of aiding workers’ mental health. Nearly 60% of the managers had discussed mental health with their workers to better understand anxiety and depression.

“This had usually taken place in individual conversations with staff members, but also on a whole-group basis,” an Oct. 24 press release from the University of Gothenburg states.

These discussions were 84% more likely if the manager worked in an organization that offered training, such as stress counseling or lectures on mental health topics, Monica Bertilsson, study co-author and senior lecturer in public health science at the university, said in the release.

 

The size of the organization and a manager’s experience with mental health made little difference on proactive efforts when compared with the training or information their employers provided.

“It’s important for organizations to take overall prevention and information measures, and to help managers learn about depression and anxiety,” Bertilsson said.

The study was published online Oct. 1 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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