Return to work for people with common mental disorders: insights into the implementation of a collaborative program in a specialized mental health hospital.

Abstract: Purpose Common mental disorders (CMDs) are a major cause of sick leave. Return-to-work (RTW) interventions providing mechanisms that support the participation and collaboration of the different stakeholders appear promising in these circumstances. The Therapeutic Return-to-Work (TRW) Program offers such mechanisms designed to enable affected workers to fully reintegrate into their jobs on a sustainable basis. This study evaluated the feasibility of implementing this program for workers with CMDs, within a specialized mental health hospital. Methods The study was conducted using a multiple case design and three main data sources: (1) the worker’s medical file, (2) the log completed by the clinicians, and (3) individual interviews with stakeholders. Data were analyzed using a qualitative approach. Results Twelve workers between 32 and 60 years old, mostly women with complex mental health profiles working in large enterprises, participated in this study. Three main observations were made regarding the TRW Program implementation: (1) eight cases were characterized by complete or virtually complete implementation; (2) no explanatory factor could be identified for the different implementation levels; (3) eight cases achieved RTW success (RTW to the original job or another job), which appears partially attributable to the high level of program implementation. Conclusions: The TRW Program seems highly promising for supporting the return to work of workers with CMDs. However, studies identifying the factors likely to influence the implementation process in different health service contexts and specifying the scope and nature of the program’s actual impact on RTW outcomes should be conducted before larger-scale implementation takes place.


Marie-José Durand, Chantal Sylvain, Marie-Andrée Paquette


juin 2023


Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation