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Worksite mental health interventions: a systematic review of economic evaluations
  1. Heleen H Hamberg-van Reenen1,
  2. Karin I Proper2,
  3. Matthijs van den Berg1
  1. 1Centre for Public Health Forecasting, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  2. 2Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Heleen H Hamberg-van Reenen, Centre for Public Health Forecasting, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, Bilthoven 3720 BA, The Netherlands; heleen.hamberg{at}rivm.nl

Abstract

Objective To give an overview of the evidence on the cost-effectiveness (CE) and financial return of worksite mental health interventions.

Methods A systematic search was conducted in relevant databases. Included economic evaluations were classified into two groups based on type of intervention: (1) aimed at prevention or treatment of mental health problems among workers or (2) aimed at return to work (RTW) for workers sick-listed from mental health problems. The quality of the included economic evaluations was assessed using the Consensus Health Economic Criteria list (CHEC-list).

Results Ten economic evaluations were included in this systematic review. All four economic evaluations on the prevention or treatment of mental health problems found a positive cost-benefit ratio, although three of these studies had low to moderate methodological quality. In five out of six economic evaluation studies on RTW interventions, no favourable CE or cost-benefit balance was found. One study of moderate methodological quality reported on a positive CE balance.

Conclusions Due to a limited number of economic evaluations on worksite mental health interventions of which a majority was lacking methodological quality or lacking evidence, only a tentative conclusion can be drawn from the results of this systematic review. Worksite interventions to prevent or treat mental health problems might be cost-effective, while those RTW interventions that included a full economic evaluation aimed at depressed employees do not seem to be cost-beneficial. More high-quality economic evaluation studies of effective worksite mental health interventions are needed to get more insight into the economic impact of worksite mental health interventions.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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