Presentation T O16

T O16 (Oral Presentation):
A systematic review of occupational health guidelines for the management of mental health problems: an international comparison

Presented by: Margot C.W. Joosen


Joosen MCW1, Brouwers EPM1, Pransky G2, van Beurden KM1, Terluin B3, Ruotsalainen JH4, Woo JM5, Choi KS6, Eguchi H7, Moriguchi J8, van der Klink JJL9, van Weeghel J1,10,11

  1. Tilburg University, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tranzo Scientific Center for Care and Welfare, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
  2. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA
  3. VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  4. Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Review Group, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland.
  5. Department of Psychiatry and Stress Research Institute, Seoul Paik Hospital, Inje University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  6. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Eulji University Hospital, Eulji University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Republic of Korea
  7. Environment and Safety Division, Kyocera Corporation, Higashiomi, Japan
  8. Department of Occupational Health Promotion, Kyoto Industrial Health Association, Kyoto, Japan
  9. University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Department of Health Sciences, Division of Community and Occupational Medicine, Groningen, The Netherlands.
  10. Phrenos Centre of Expertise, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  11. Parnassia Group, Dijk en Duin Mental Health Center, Castricum, The Netherlands



To address work disability due to mental health problems, practice guidelines have been developed in various countries. However, it is not clear what guidelines are used in different countries and if these guidelines meet currently accepted quality criteria. We compared available practice guidelines on the management of mental health problems in an occupational healthcare setting and determined their quality of development and reporting.


We systematically searched National Guideline Clearinghouse, Guidelines International Network Library and PubMed. In addition, we consulted members of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH). Two review authors selected eligible guidelines independently. We assessed the development and reporting quality of the guidelines with the AGREEII instrument and extracted and compared recommendations on assessment and management.


Of 2126 titles retrieved, we included 14 guidelines: 1 Japanese, 2 Finnish, 2 Korean, 2 British and 7 Dutch. We judged four guidelines to be of good quality and the Scope and Purpose were described best. Most guidelines inadequately reported editorial independence, barriers and facilitators for implementation and the process used to gather and synthesize evidence. Moreover, the majority of the guidelines missed clearly formulated recommendations. The included guidelines were in many ways similar. They had a shared focus in the assessment of mental health symptoms, performance problems in private and/or social life, and relevant work factors. All guidelines recommended specific return-to-work interventions and most agreed on psychological treatment and communication between involved stakeholders.


Although work disability due to mental health problems is a worldwide problem, specific guidelines were difficult to find. To promote sharing, national guidelines should be accessible via established international databases. To increase quality and applicability, AGREE criteria should be used by guideline developers. Because of differences in social systems, developers can learn from each other through reviews of this kind. This work was supported by the Work Disability Prevention CIHR Strategic Training Program, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant(s) FRN: 53909

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O13 - T O24 and Seminar 5)
Session: Work Disability in workers with mental disorders
Room B