Nordic seminar discussing mental health and return to work after a sick leave
A major part of sickness absences in the Nordic countries is caused by mental health problems, and those also increasingly contribute to early retirement decisions. This was stated at a Nordic seminar dealing with mental health and return to work by people suffering from mental ill-health that was held on 12 October in Helsinki. The seminar was a part of the programme for Finland's Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2011.
The costs of medical care of mental health problems and of the reduced work ability caused by them are high. Mental ill-health also affects negatively individuals' quality of life and work ability.
The seminar discussed ways to prevent mental health problems at an early stage and to support employees' return to working life after a sick leave.
The purpose of the seminar was to exchange experiences between the Nordic countries, issue recommendations on measures to support return to work and to present strategies and good practices from the countries. The seminar was arranged by the Nordic Institute for Advanced Training in Occupational Health (Nordiska Institutet för Vidareutbildning inom Arbetsmiljöområdet, NIVA). Permanent Secretary Kari Välimäki of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health gave the opening address at the seminar.