Workplace mental health training for managers

Published 27 Nov 2018
Written by
Josie S Milligan-Saville, Leona Tan, Aimée Gayed, Caryl Barnes, Ira Madan, Mark Dobson, Richard A Bryant, Helen Christensen, Arnstein Mykletun, Samuel B Harvey
Lancet Psychiatry
Reading time
10 mins

This research paper looks at how mental illness continues to be one of the most rapidly growing causes of long-term sickness absence and labour market exclusion across developed countries.

A paper entitled ‘Workplace mental health training for managers and its effect on sick leave in employees: a cluster randomised controlled trial’ published in October 2017 is available online using the button below:

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The summary from the paper reads:

Mental illness is one of the most rapidly increasing causes of long-term sickness absence, despite improved rates of detection and development of more effective interventions. However, mental health training for managers might help improve occupational outcomes for people with mental health problems. We aimed to investigate the effect of mental health training on managers’ knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and behaviour towards employees with mental health problems, and its effect on employee sickness absence.

The method:

A cluster randomised controlled trial of manager mental health training was carried out within a large Australian fire and rescue service, with a 6-month follow-up. Managers (clusters) at the level of duty commander or equivalent were randomly assigned (1:1) using an online random sequence generator to either a 4-h face-to-face RESPECT mental health training programme or a deferred training control group. Researchers, managers, and employees were not masked to the outcome of randomisation. Firefighters and station officers supervised by each manager were included in the study via their anonymised sickness absence records. The primary outcome measure was change in sickness absence among those supervised by each of the managers. We analysed rates of work-related sick leave and standard sick leave separately, with rate being defined as sickness absence hours divided by the sum of hours of sickness absence and hours of attendance. This trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry.