Reviewed Books & Films

« Has Psychology Lost Its Humanity? | Main | What 2014 Films Would Win if Psychologists Gave out Academy Awards? »

Thursday, March 05, 2015

How to Make Workplace Mental Health a Priority


Susan L. Trumbetta reviewed Mental illness in the Workplace:  Psychological Disability Management by  Henry G. Harder,  Shannon L. Wagner, and  Joshua A. Rash. This topic raises a number of questions in my mind. For example, how can employers get senior management to "buy in" to the importance of preventing  and treating mental health problems in the workplace? Relatedly, how can employers convince cynical employees that taking steps to prevent and treat mental health problems in the workplace should be a priority?

Read the Review
ReviewA Comprehensive Introduction to Workplace Mental Health
By Susan L. Trumbetta
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(6)


Joshua A. Rash

Thank you Dr. Trumbetta for a timely and thorough review of our monograph "Mental illness in the workplace: Psychological disability management." I particularly enjoyed your comment on the importance of recognizing externalizing psychopathology in the workplace.

You have detailed two very important issues in this blog. "Buy in" is important at every level of an organization if mental illness is to be effectively prevented and treated. So how does an organization convince senior management and cynical employees to "buy in" and recognize the importance of treating mental health problems in the workplace. The literature on Self-Determination Theory and Motivational Interviewing offers one perspective on how to motivate behaviour change.

Individuals are most likely to change their behaviour when they have autonomous motivation (i.e., goal oriented behaviour that is internalized) to make such changes. For change to occur, individuals need to feel that change is beneficial and possible. Individuals find change beneficial if it leads to personally relevant or valued outcomes (e.g., preventing and treating mental health problems in the workplace will result in improved health and well-being for all employees). Individuals find change possible if they are confident in their abilities (e.g., I am confident that I can work in a collegial manner rather than an adversarial manner). I think that there will always be employers and employees who are ambivalent about recognizing and treating mental health problem in the workplace, but it is ultimately an individual's choice whether or not to change their behaviour. Rather than setting an external mandate it is incumbent upon organization's to explore ambivalence towards preventing and treating mental health problems in the workplace. By exploring ambivalence and reinforcing change talk organization's can guide the conversation towards making changes that are congruent with preventing and treating mental health problems in the workplace. This is where "Mental illness in the workplace: Psychological disability management" can be useful. When delivered in a motivational manner, the material covered in our monograph could move ambivalent employees along the stages of change (e.g., from pre-contemplation to contemplation) making behaviour change more likely.

I would be interested in hearing what others think about this interesting issue and invite additional discussion on the subject.

With kind regards,

Joshua A. Rash

I really enjoyed reading your article. I found this as an informative and interesting post, so i think it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the effort you have made in writing this article.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Note: We are experiencing issues with legitimate comments sometimes being marked as spam by the system. If you post a comment and are wondering why it isn't showing up right away, please know we are checking the spam filter frequently and will publish your comment as needed.

Thanks for your comment, and for your patience as we work on this issue.

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

Related Links

Bookmark and Share

Send Feedback

rss Subscribe to the Blog

rss Subscribe via FeedBurner

Subscribe to Blog Updates via Email Here…