Organizational Interventions as a Strategy to Prevent Work Related Stress among Mental Health Workers
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Background: The wellbeing of mental health workers (MHWs) is a priority for Departments of Mental Health in order to ensure a better protection of MHWs and a better health service. However, to date, several factors affecting the healthcare sector in Italy such as organizational changes involving working time and intensity, type of employment contract, psychosocial factors at work, health and safety policies within the organization, appear to interfere with the workers' wellness.
Methods: The authors carried out an integrated analysis of stress sentinel indicators and of objective stress factors of occupational context and content, among two General Hospital Psychiatric Units (GHPUs) and four Community Mental Health Centres (CMHCs), following the European Framework Agreement on Work-Related Stress of 8 October 2004, incorporated in Italy into Legislative Decree 81/08.
Results: All the GHPUs and the CMHCs investigated through the objective approach to w.r.s. assessment reported a medium level of w.r.s., among both psychiatrists than nurses. Following the evaluation were identified the priority organizational interventions focused on work context issues; these interventions showed effectives to minimize the sources of w.r.s. among the GHPUs and the CMHCs.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that organizational interventions focused on improvement of work context issues may contribute to an effective reduction of WRS among nurses and psychiatrists employed in GHPUs and CMHCs. A special effort is required by the head psychiatrists and the head nurses of GHPUs and CMHCs to implement effective policies about the management of WRS.