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The Mental Health at Work program has fostered a work culture that invests in mental health and prevention

The Mental Health in Working Life programme, implemented in collaboration with a large number of interest groups, has enhanced knowledge and workplace conditions to create a work culture that supports mental well-being. According to the evaluation, experiences in various organizations show that in development work there is great potential to obtain large-scale positive results in the coming years.

The mental health program in practical life was implemented under the guidance and coordination of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The program was part of the implementation of the Government’s Prime Minister’s Program True Marines Government. The main objective of the program was that mental health support in working life should be directed at the entire working community and be about preventing problems with the ability to work rather than focusing on the individual and focusing on problem solving. The Institute of Occupational Health and the non-profit association MIELI Psykisk Hälsa Finland rf were responsible for the operational implementation of the programme. A large number of partners and interest groups also participated in the implementation. The program was implemented in the years 2021-2022.

Workplaces receive tools to support mental health through prevention

The program delivered concrete solutions that support workplaces in the form of mental health support tools and an operating model to create a work culture that supports mental well-being through occupational health care collaboration. A large network of interest groups and workplaces has developed effective ways to prevent mental illness and increase well-being in the working community. Both the toolbox and the business model can be used freely by everyone in the workplace and in the healthcare professional.

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The new operating model increases welfare in the working community

According to the evaluation, the Occupational Health Care Collaboration Operational Model met the objectives related to the content and usability of the model. The form was also considered to have informative value. In some organizations, collaboration and community have improved significantly through the new approaches. The business model is expected to support development work in the workplace and within occupational healthcare that increases psychological well-being.

Workplaces receive simple tools to boost mental health

The digitization of the nine tools in the Mental Health Toolbox was successful. Over the course of the program, the tools have been used more than 125,000 times. The methods and tools have responded well to the most common needs of users, and the methods have been improved over the course of the program. The tools increased awareness and conditions for change in attitudes and work culture.

According to the evaluation, the most important reason for the change in business culture and attitudes was improved communication. Through communication, it is possible to reach the most important target groups and increase the visibility of the program. The discussion about mental health has gained momentum and become normal, and the program has also been somewhat successful in reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems.

The program encourages and enables development work for as many workplaces as possible to take advantage of the methods: templates and tools are published and adapted to workplace needs. The intent is to disseminate the methods further and to establish them in the long term after the launch of the program and the first acquaintance with the methods.

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According to the evaluation, experiences in various organizations show that in development work there is great potential for obtaining large-scale positive results in the coming years, provided that the methods are used wisely and in the long term. The results were particularly notable in terms of continued development work in the workplace and within occupational health care and that new operating models have spread and are increasingly being used in workplaces after the program period.

Mental health tools and an operating model for occupational health care will also be disseminated and developed through Finland’s Sustainable Growth Programme.

The evaluation was carried out by Nordic Healthcare Group and its partners.

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Jana VastamakiProject Manager, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]Sala Tobinen TannerDirector of the Institute of Occupational Health, [email protected]Mary LarivaraMIELI Mental Health Finland rf, Director, [email protected]Timo TopalaSenior Director, Nordic Healthcare Group, [email protected] (evaluation result)