Mental Health Works - Third Quarter 2012 - (Page 9)
Maine State Government Participates in Depression Screening and Work-Focused Intervention
BY NANCY W. SPANGLER, PhD, OTR/L
ental Health Works readers may recall an article last year describing the Work and Health Initiative (WHI) developed by Debra Lerner, PhD, Senior Scientist and Director of the Program on Health, Work, and Productivity at Tufts Medical Center Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies in Boston, Massachusetts. The WHI is a multi-component work-focused care program for employees with depression. The program supplements usual care for depression with enhanced care management, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and work-focused counseling, and measurements of presenteeism that examine functional limitations on the ability to work. The article encouraged employers to participate in the study to assess the program’s effectiveness and explained that pilot studies with employers have shown the program to be highly effective. We are pleased to share with you the experience of one employer involved in the pilot study: the State Government of Maine.
The State Government of Maine employs 13,000 people in a wide range of roles dispersed throughout the state. Principal industries in Maine include lumber, fishing, shipbuilding, textiles, paper and leather products, and farming.
The State Government of Maine provides a number of programs and benefits to support the health and well-being of its employees. Bill McPeck, Maine’s director of employee health and safety, and his supervisor, Frank Johnson, see participating in research projects as a way to enhance the level of services available to support state employees’ health. Johnson, Maine’s executive director of the office of employee health and benefits, learned about the research initiative through Lerner and her colleagues when he was chair of the Maine Health Management Coalition, an employer coalition based in Portland, Maine. Johnson discussed the potential benefits of participating in the research with the then commissioner of administrative and financial services and with McPeck, who has a longstanding interest in how social and emotional aspects of health affect work abilities. One potential benefit was improved care for employees with depression. Research suggests that with usual care provided in typical primary care settings, depression often is under detected and undertreated, while enhanced or collaborative care, including patient monitoring and education, improves clinical outcomes (Gilbody, Bower, Fletcher, Richards, & Sutton, 2006; Simon, 2002). In WHI, the aim is to improve care quality and
MENTAL HEALTH WORKS
THIRD QUARTER 2012
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