Reviews

Handbook of mental health in the workplace

This book provides a comprehensive overview of theory, legislation (as it applies in the US) and good practice concerned with the successful employment of people with mental health disabilities.

The collection is helpfully organised into five parts: general issues (theory and legislation), working conditions, life stressors and mental health, effects of psychopathology on work, effects of disruptive behaviour at work, and organisational practice and mental health. As is usual for an edited book, each chapter can stand alone and be selected by topic for the busy professional. All chapters have a reference section at the end, and most contain helpful diagrams, checklists and case studies. Certain chapters (2, 24-26) are heavily based on the US system and the Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA) and so have limited relevance for the UK.

I found the most helpful sections of the book to be parts III and IV, which contain impressively thorough chapters dedicated to different forms of mental illness and disruptive behaviours which may be found in the workplace. All chapters follow a similar format, tailored to employment, covering a description

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The collection is helpfully organised into five parts: general issues (theory and legislation), working conditions, life stressors and mental health, effects of psychopathology on work, effects of disruptive behaviour at work, and organisational practice and mental health. As is usual for an edited book, each chapter can stand alone and be selected by topic for the busy professional. All chapters have a reference section at the end, and most contain helpful diagrams, checklists and case studies. Certain chapters (2, 24-26) are heavily based on the US system and the Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA) and so have limited relevance for the UK.

I found the most helpful sections of the book to be parts III and IV, which contain impressively thorough chapters dedicated to different forms of mental illness and disruptive behaviours which may be found in the workplace. All chapters follow a similar format, tailored to employment, covering a description of the disorder, impact on the workplace, epidemiology, assessment, precipitating conditions, recommended interventions and case studies.

Part III covers an impressive array of mental illness within psychoses, neuroses and personality disorders and also includes brain injury, eating disorders, PTSD and insomnia. Part IV covers problematic or disruptive behaviour in the workplace such as anger, harassment and discrimination, passive- aggression, alcohol and drug misuse, social dysfunction and absenteeism. Each of these is well-researched and mostly up-to-date, though only one chapter referred to the most recent advances in clinical understanding arising from a synthesis of attachment and psychodynamic theories with neurobiological research.

I would certainly recommend this book to all managers and professionals in the public and private sector, for its practical and comprehensive coverage of mental health issues in the workplace, ranging from how to assess and intervene when such issues arise, useful preventative strategies, including screening, selection and management practices and how to utilise the strengths of all employees.

Though the clinical material may be familiar to health professionals, the occupational orientation of the book provides a host of helpful insights about the impact and management of each type of difficulty in the workplace.

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