Mental health is a significant part of work ability. Mental health problems cause costs of about 2.5 billion every year, including the value of lost labour input. There are proven preventive methods and ways to improve mental health that should be applied more widely.

The purpose of the mental health support toolkit is to change the focus of mental health support from individual-centred solving of existing problems to comprehensive prevention of work ability problems.

The mental health toolkit includes a total of nine tools that are available to workplaces and occupational health care service providers during the project. The tools will be completed and ready to use in autumn 2021.

The topics of the tools range from work arrangements to supporting recovery and developing organizational resilience. Included are tools for the evaluation of cognitive load, facilitating exercise as well as creating a substance abuse programme and managing addictions. The toolkit also includes a test related to well-being at work and coaching programmes for supervisors and planning your working career. We are offering the tools to all work communities interested in promoting mental health.

Mental health support at the workplace – a model for occupational health co-operation

Long sickness absences due to mental health disorders have increased by 43 per cent in 2016–2019. The increase has been steepest among young people and women (Kela 2019). In addition, the number of people retired on disability pension due to mental health reasons has grown by 29 per cent in 2014–2019 (Finnish Centre for Pensions 2019).

Work ability management at the workplace is highly significant for supporting employees’ mental work ability and managing psychosocial workload. In this work, occupational health care is an important partner.

To support mental health, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and MIELI Mental Health Finland will build an occupational health co-operation model in 2021–2022. The model for occupational health co-operation that supports mental work ability and mental health will be created together with workplaces and occupational health services.

With the model, you can:

  • assess the need for support for work ability and the risks and resources in the work environment
  • set development targets required by the situation and define service needs
  • choose the measures needed in different situations to support work ability and influence the work environment
  • agree on the responsibilities of different parties and the co-ordination of measures and the overall process
  • carry out the necessary measures
  • see to the monitoring and assessment of the effectiveness of the measures.
The toolkit and operational model for occupational health co-operation created by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health is part of a mental health in work life programme launched by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.