Helping employees return to work is the “most underutilized pill” in the psychiatrist’s formulary, say experts. Learn how you can help your patients be successful employees.
Today’s workplace confronts people with increasingly high levels of uncertainty and stress. More workers are absent from work because of stress and anxiety than because of physical illness or injury. Effective psychiatric treatment requires understanding the impact of stress on the entire person, both physiologically and psychologically. Who is the champion for the employed psychiatric patient? Is it the psychiatrist? Is it the employer? Or can it be both?
APA leaders, along with employers DuPont, JPMorgan Chase, and the Department of Defense, will present the symposium “Return to Work: The Most Underutilized ‘Pill’ in the Psychiatrist’s Formulary” on Wednesday, May 22, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in room 306 at the Moscone Convention Center.
The symposium is being presented by the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, dedicated to collaborating with employers to advance quality mental health care. Presentations will highlight real-world employer approaches to mental health.
Support a coordinated return-to-work strategy: Attendees will hear innovative employer mental health strategies and explore how psychiatry can be a partner in efforts to reduce employee stress and the amount of time away from work.
“Employers increasingly recognize that untreated mental illness increases absenteeism, saps productivity, and drives up health care and disability costs. More than that, we see the impact of stress on emotional health in our employees every day,” said panelist Paul Heck, M.Ed., L.P.C., global manager for Employee Assistance and WorkLife Services for DuPont and advisor to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health. “Let’s talk about how employers and psychiatry can partner in reaching our shared goals of people receiving quality treatment that avoids the need to miss work or that minimizes time away from work.”
Learn strategies for nonclinical training and returning veterans: The panel will discuss strategies aimed at the entire employee population and targeted initiatives such as executive training for sustaining leadership in difficult times and programs that address the needs of returning veterans.
“A widespread culture of stigma continues to surround mental illness and those quietly suffering from mental health conditions, often preventing individuals from reaching out for help they need when they need it most,” said panelist and psychiatrist Capt. Paul Hammer. “Employers are implementing strategies that enable help-seeking behavior in a nonclinical setting, and psychiatry needs to be at the table.”
Partner with employer coalitions: The panel will explore how employers collaborate through business coalitions to make a positive impact on mental health care delivery and financing.
“Beyond learning how employers are addressing stress and mental health concerns with their employees, I believe that attendees of this symposium will discover firsthand how, in many ways, the goals of business and psychiatry are in fact aligned, and that employers can be a valuable ally to psychiatry,” said Alan Axelson, M.D., symposium chair and co-chair of the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health’s Advisory Council. ■
Mary Claire Kraft is the program manager of APA’s Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.
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