Journal Article

Patients with Minor Mental Disorders Leading to Sickness Absence: A Feasibility Study for Social Workers’ Participation in a Treatment Programme

Evelien P. M. Brouwers, Berend Terluin, Bea G. Tiemens and Peter F. M. Verhaak

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 1, pages 127-138
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch229
Patients with Minor Mental Disorders Leading to Sickness Absence: A Feasibility Study for Social Workers’ Participation in a Treatment Programme

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Minor mental disorders are common among patients who visit their general practitioner. In the Netherlands, they are associated with high costs due to absenteeism, disability benefits and medical consumption (consumption of drugs as well as expenditure of medical staff’s time). In the Netherlands, a protocol was developed for the treatment of minor mental disorders, based on the principles of brief cognitive behaviour therapy. The cost-effectiveness of this protocol was tested in a group of patients whose minor mental disorders had lead to sickness absence. The protocol was completed by Dutch social workers, one of whose core tasks normally is to provide psychosocial care. The main aims of the protocol are for the patient to regain functionality and to prevent long-term disability. The protocol emphasizes patients’ own responsibility and active role in the recovery process, includes homework assignments and stresses the importance of early work resumption. This article focuses on a discussion of the feasibility of this treatment for minor mental disorders. The evidence for or against the protocol’s cost-effectiveness will be discussed in future papers. The results show that patients, social workers and general practitioners were motivated to participate and that the protocol was well received by all three groups. If the treatment also proves to be cost-effective, it would appear to be a promising intervention for a frequently encountered problem in primary care.

Keywords: minor mental disorders; social work; treatment; primary care.

Journal Article.  4450 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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