A redesigned training and staff support programme to enhance job retention in employees with moderate-severe depression

Walker, Nicola and Dobbing, Rachel. 2021. A redesigned training and staff support programme to enhance job retention in employees with moderate-severe depression. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 25(3), pp. 279-295. ISSN 2042-8308 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Purpose: Closing the treatment gap in depression is vital to prevent people from losing their jobs. Delivering group-based interventions at work could reach more employees than delivering 1:1 interventions in a clinical setting. This study aims to redesign a Treatment Programme to make it more acceptable and accessible for employees with depression.

Design/methodology/approach: A mixed-methods exploratory sequential design with a high level of stakeholder consultation was used to redesign an interdisciplinary Work-focussed Relational Group CBT Treatment Programme for moderate-severe depression. Qualitative data from focus groups and quantitative data from a small feasibility study were integrated to develop the new Training (and Staff Support) Programme (TSSP), which was fully specified and manualised in line with the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) for future delivery.

Findings: Focus groups identified a need for improved acceptability and accessibility of the tertiary preventative Work-focussed Relational Group CBT Treatment Programme. This programme was, therefore, simplified for delivery by peer facilitators at the worksite as an intervention for all employees rather than an indicated/targeted intervention for only those with symptoms/risk of depression. The TSSP comprised a compulsory trauma-informed educational/experiential workshop over four days plus optional open-ended, peer-led base groups set up and run by volunteer peer facilitators.

Research limitations/implications: The focus groups comprised a convenience sample who knew the researchers as a colleague or therapist, so there is a risk of selection or relationship bias. They were not involved in the data analysis which undermines the element of co-production and increases the risk of analytic or confirmation bias.

Practical implications: Delivering the new intervention in a group format will require peer facilitators to acquire skills in co-facilitation using a structured-directive leadership style and an awareness of the potential side effects of group-based interventions.

Social implications: The worksite TSSP provides a democratic learning space and empowers employees to stay at work by self-managing their symptoms and by challenging the interpersonal dynamics and organisational structures that might precipitate and perpetuate depression.

Originality/value: This intervention is fully specified and manualised with an explicit programme theory, unlike most universal worksite-based CBT programmes.

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Additional Information:

© 2021 Emerald Group Publishing. This is an author-produced version of a paper subsequently published in Mental Health and Social Inclusion. This version is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You may not use the material for commercial purposes.


Cognitive behaviour therapy; Depression; Worksite; Job retention; Peer-led; Universal training programme

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


22 July 2021Published Online
23 August 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

14 Sep 2023 12:02

Last Modified:

14 Sep 2023 12:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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