Returning to work in case of mental disorders

It is extremely important to promote mental health and detect problems early on. Unfortunately, this is not always enough to solve the problems. In cases of mental disorders, arranging timely and appropriate treatment is paramount. Nevertheless, support in the workplace and the return to work after sick leave are extremely significant factors in promoting recovery and regaining work ability.

At its best, work itself is rehabilitating

At its best, work reinforces our feeling of meaningfulness: through work, we are able to express ourselves, learn new things, experience a sense of community and do each other good. You can support your employees’ rerecovery and return to work after sick leave by making sure that their work supports their perceived control, coping and competence as well as their sense of community.

As an example, an integral part of recovering from depression is supporting and strengthening the feelings of copinginvolvement and social contacts. You can support the recovery of an employee with depression by accommodating their workload to suit their situation and by supporting the functioning of the work community.

Provide a framework for work accommodation and flexibility

Accommodating work on the basis of physical limitations and symptoms is often simpler than when dealing with mental health issues. Standards and guidelines on ergonomics, for example, provide support for these accommodations.

When dealing with mental health issues, work accommodation may seem harder. It is not necessarily possible to specify the limits and adjustments as explicitly.

Possible accommodations may include

  • limiting the work tasks  
  • increasing feedback  
  • appointing a support person 
  • temporarily stepping out of a customer service position or supervisory role.

What kind of accommodations could you make in your company?

Determine in advance what kind of accommodations can be made at your workplace. Authorise supervisors to accommodate work as required within a set framework whenever accommodations are needed.

Read more about returning to work, work accommodation and mental health