Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mental health is an increasingly important topic in the workplace

Mental health is an increasingly important topic in the workplace. According to a report by the National Mental Health Commission and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance It is estimated that, at any point in time, one in six working age people will be suffering from mental illness, which is associated with very high personal and economic costs. 

Mental illness is one of the leading causes of sickness absence and long-term work incapacity in Australia and is one of the main health related reasons for reduced work performance. Individuals with mental health problems, and their caregivers, are some of the most stigmatised and marginalised groups in the workplace and often miss out on the many benefits good work can offer.  There is increasing evidence that workplaces can play an important and active role in maintaining the mental health and well-being of their workers.

Now, The Workplace Bipolar Inventory, a 39-item questionnaire used to screen for bipolar disorder in the workplace, has showed promise in a small study at the department of mental health at the University of Tokyo.

The investigator asked workers who were on sick leave because of mental health problems to complete the Workplace Bipolar Inventory (WBI), the Mood Disorder Questionnaire, and the Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale. A subscale of the WBI called the WBI-AB4 proved to have the screening performance that was most informative.

According to the optimal cut-off point, WBI-AB4 would be useful for occupational mental health staffs to screen out bipolarity among workers who have depressive symptoms at the workplace; however, more information of the suspected subjects about the manic/hypomanic episode from their supervisor, colleagues, or family was needed.

This study aimed to develop a new instrument for bipolar disorder screening, the Workplace Bipolar Inventory (WBI), and examine its efficiency as compared with Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) and Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale (BSDS) among workers on leave of the absence due to their mental health problems.

Participants were recruited at a psychiatric outpatient clinic for return-to-work in Tokyo, Japan, during September to November 2009. 81 outpatients were recruited, 55 of whom (68%) agreed to participate in this study. Participants answered questionnaires including WBI, MDQ, BSDS, and demographic factors. Their diagnostic information according to the international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems 10th revision (ICD-10) was obtained from their attending psychiatrists. The WBI is a new self-rating 39-item questionnaire which developed with input from occupational mental health specialists and an analysis of WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) items. 

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