Dr Peter Verhaak
University of Utrecht
+31 30 272 9735
Aims: To test the hypothesis that a brief, activating treatment by social workers is more successful in reducing long term absenteeism and in increasing patient well-being than General Practitioners’ (GPs’) usual care in patients with minor mental disorders ((e.g. mild depression, generalised anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder) who are on sick leave.
Design: RCT involving 370 primary care patients. Interventions were usual GP care or five sessions in ten weeks with social workers trained in technique including a focus on early work resumption. The main aims of the experimental intervention were to focus on the persons most recent and actual health problem and to support them to regain functionality and control and to resume work as early as possible. Results: The groups did not differ at baseline, nor after three, six or 18 months with respect to levels of depression, anxiety, somatisation, distress, functional status or sick leave duration. In both groups, well- being improved significantly in the first months after baseline, regardless of treatment.