Research finds most effective eHealth treatments for the workplace

22 December 2017

Mindfulness identified as most effective eHealth treatment for mental health issues in the workplace, allowing employers to alter their approach to employee mental health.

Research conducted by the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre and published in PLOS One has revealed the most effective mental illness eHealth treatments for use in the workplace.

Lead researcher, Elizabeth Stratton, said the results indicated the most popular intervention, cognitive behaviour therapy, is actually the least effective in treating mental health issues inside the workplace

“Mindfulness based interventions have the most effective short-term benefit,” Ms Stratton said.

“Online stress management appears to be the most effective only when delivered to those with a mental illness or high stress levels, and provides no benefit in general populations. While cognitive behaviour therapy shows only a very small real benefit, yet is the most popular eHealth intervention for mental ill-health.”

Ms Stratton said due to this research workplaces can now adopt the most suitable eHealth program for their employees.

“This review provides and informs workplaces on the best type of interventions to use for their employees. Organisations and employers should be aware that not all interventions are equal, many lack evidence, and achieving the best outcomes depends on providing the right type of intervention to the correct population of employees,” she said.

The research findings were surprising given eHealth-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy has been proven to be effective at reducing mental illness outside of the workplace.

Research group head, Professor Nick Glozier, recommends organisations need to provide a number of different eHealth interventions to cater for both employees with current mental health problems and to prevent these in others.

“Our suggestions would be to ensure the Apps and websites have a tailored approach and provide different types of interventions depending upon the population and their current mental health state.

"Although eHealth interventions are now popular and widely promoted in workplaces it appears that some caution is required in their advocacy and uptake, more evidence is needed on the effectiveness, targeting, implementation and potential risks of these new technologies.”

Elliott Richardson

Assistant Media Advisor (Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy)

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