New prevention strategy offers employers solution to psychosocial workload

Bullying, cross-border behaviour and work pressure are forms of psychosocial workload (PSA) that are increasingly attracting attention. Important, because burnout, stress and depression are consequences of PSA and thus the main occupational diseases in the Netherlands. A sick employee costs on average €250 a day, increasing the importance of prevention. The new prevention strategy of SpecialistenNet, a national network of psychologists and coaches, offers solutions with the help of a comprehensive screening to measure how (mentally) healthy the organisation is; a practice-oriented addition to the mandatory Risk Inventory & Evaluation.

Employer: influence on mental health

It is common knowledge that healthy and motivated employees increase job satisfaction, reduce absenteeism, improve cooperation and increase productivity. What is less known is that employers themselves can do something about this. Christiaan Prager, director of SpecialistenNet, says that employers have a great influence on the mental health of their employees. By taking a preventive approach, they can prevent absenteeism. The new prevention strategy ensures that employees at risk are quickly ‘discovered’ and proactively approached by an independent psychologist from the network. Employees who have already dropped out are immediately taken care of and helped towards a sustainable recovery. Thus, this helps employers find a solution to psychosocial workload.

Mental care without waiting times

Employers are legally responsible for the safety and health of their employees and SpecialistenNet helps relieve them by linking the employee to a psychologist or coach in the area within 24 hours of registration. As a result, a development process can immediately start. In doing so, the Soesterberg, Netherlands-based company does not use the regular GGZ care pathways and thus offers care without waiting times.

“Around €250 a day is of course a lot if your employee is on a waiting list for six months. So an immediately applicable solution like ours offers a solution, both for employers and for the

employee, who is quickly back on his feet. Sometimes a small intervention with, for example, the company physician is enough. Many employers fortunately recognise this,” says Prager. “We do not have waiting times and the first confidential contact is therefore made within a day.”

Tight labour market

Prager notes that employees are experiencing an increasing workload. “The tight labour market plays a major role in this. People become burnt out, which in turn increases the workload for colleagues. The result: even more absenteeism. Fortunately, employers have a lot of influence on the mental health of employees and the key to allowing people to flourish lies with them.”

Happiness at work is the key, that is what SpecialistenNet founder Emiel Prager realised more than 20 years ago. Back
then, he chose to set up a nationwide network of franchise psychologists, coaches and external confidential counsellors. Several large companies in all kinds of industries have used his services. Bus drivers to directors have been helped. For the past three years, his son Christiaan has been continuing his mission; aiming to use his approach to make the mental health market more positive, understandable and above all, accessible.

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