Objective In the workplace depression and suicide are serious mental health problems. A lack of knowledge and mental health skills along with the stigma toward mental health problems often results in delays in seeking professional help. Interventions targeting not only persons with mental health problems but also people around the individual are warranted in order to encourage supporting behavior within entire workplace. In the present study, we investigated the efficacy of our newly developed educational training program in the management with depression and suicidal risk in the workplace as a single-arm pilot trial. Methods The program is a two-hour (2-h) training course for employees based on the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program which aims to increase public mental health literacy. We conducted this program at a company workplace among 91 employees, and ultimately 83 participants completed the self-rated questionnaires. Changes in confidence and practical skills in early intervention of depression and suicide-prevention, and stigma toward mental health problems were evaluated using self-rated questionnaires at 3 time-points; pre-program, immediately post-program, and 1 month after the program. Results Confidence and practical skills were significantly improved even 1 month after the program, and stigma reduced just after the program. Conclusions Our pilot study suggests that the program has a positive impact on encouraging employees to support their co-workers with mental health problems, and is applicable for busy workers due to its short duration. A single-arm design, evaluation using self-rated questionnaire and short-term follow up period are the main limitations of the present study. Hence, future research is required to validate the effects of this program with control groups, and also to assess long-term effectiveness and objective changes such as absenteeism and sick leave.
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