Designing, Implementing, & Evaluating a Dissemination Strategy for Management of Low Mood & Depression among Employees of Pacific Blue Cross
Final Report Date: December 2010
||Elliot Goldner (SFU)
||Joti Samra and Merv Gilbert (SFU); Anne Kinvig and Cathy Tucker (Pacific Blue Cross)
For more information about this project, please contact Elliot Goldner.
Canadian workers have significant rates of depression, which can also contribute to the effects of other illness and injuries. In this study, researchers developed and piloted a strategy for disseminating a self-care manual within a private sector workplace, aimed at providing an effective, timely and cohesive implementation strategy for employers and workers dealing with the onset of depression. The project was conducted at Pacific Blue Cross (PBC), B.C.’s largest provider of extended health and dental benefits.
- The research results highlighted psychological health as an important area for focus within the organization; the need for an integrated, multi-faceted approach involving a range of stakeholders; and a strong interest in accessing resources and training for evidence‐based, self‐care approaches to managing low mood and depression among employees.
- The pilot dissemination strategy included a supported self-management workshop for PBC employees, employee awareness strategies (newsletter article, a booth at the organization’s annual health and wellness fair, and a lunch & learn session), and access to hard and CD copies of the self-care manual as well as a relaxation CD.
To develop an implementation strategy for a self-care guide for depression within a private sector organization
The project involved the collection of qualitative and descriptive data in order to inform the development of an effective, timely and cohesive implementation strategy for an existing workplace depression self‐management tool, Antidepressant Skills @ Work (AS@W). Data collection included focus groups, electronic surveys and individual consultations within the organization, and focused on:
- how to increase awareness of employee depression and existing employee mental health services/programs for PBC employees
- barriers and enablers for uptake and utilization of the self-care workbook at PBC
- how to integrate the self-care workbook within the organizations existing system support resources
The project emphasized consultation with key stakeholders at PBC, including the health and wellness team, employees, managers/supervisors, union representatives, the external employee and family assistance provider, and the short and long-term disability providers.
- Psychological health was identified as an important area for focus within the organization.
- An integrated approach involving a range of stakeholders was identified as being a necessary component of a comprehensive strategy.
- There was strong interest in increased access to resources and training for evidence‐based, self‐care approaches to managing low mood and depression among employees.
- A multi‐modal dissemination strategy (focused on targeting a range of stakeholders) had high acceptability as a recommended approach.
- The resulting dissemination strategy was implemented between 2009 and 2010. It included a supported self-management workshop for PBC employees, employee awareness strategies (newsletter article, a booth at the organization’s annual health and wellness fair, and a lunch & learn session), and access to hard and CD copies of the self-care manual as well as a relaxation CD.
- One‐time training sessions were found to be an ineffective standalone strategy for disseminating information about evidence‐based approaches to managing depression.
- Psychological health and safety needs to be considered as an important area of focus when looking at the overall health and safety of employees.
- A multifacted approach targeting a range of workplace stakeholders is a necessary component for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to address workplace psychological health issues.
- Clear and repeat communication within an organization is a necessary component of increasing knowledge of and buy‐in for collecting employee data about psychological health concerns.
- An effective psychological health strategy involves ongoing support and implementation.
The implementation strategy developed in this project will be relevant to other private and public enterprises and planning to adopt mentally healthy workplace initiatives in the future. The authors also note several “lessons learned” through the pilot process that would be relevant to similar projects in the future.