Research project: EMPOWER – European platforM to PromOte Wellbeing and hEalth In the woRkplace
2020-2023 | EU Horizon 2020-programme – Research and Innovation Action Call: SC1-BHC-22-2019
Mental health problems cause an enormous burden both for the individual and the society. The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development estimated that mental disorders will cost the global economy $16 trillion by 2030. This economic cost is primarily due to early onset of mental illness and lost productivity, with an estimated 12 billion working days lost due to mental illness every year.
Due to the fragmented landscape of interventions and related implementation barriers, there is an urgent need for a multi-modal and integrative eHealth platform aimed at reducing mental health problems in the workplace and improving employees’ wellbeing, by compiling the most feasible, brief and cost-effective interventions currently available in Europe. The platform will take advantage of proven cost-effective tools and address the need to reduce stigma, increase help-seeking behaviour, raise awareness about and minimalize psychosocial risks, improve self-management strategies, taking into account mental and physical comorbidities, and promote a healthy lifestyle – all while considering gender and cultural differences that impact successful implementation. This is especially relevant for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which represent the majority of all enterprises in the EU but have very limited resources. The development and implementation of a multi-modal and integrative eHealth platform should, finally, be guided and supported by close collaboration with stakeholders, including employee and employer organisations, insurance companies, patient associations, and health professionals.
The objective of EMPOWER is to develop, pilot, and evaluate a multi-modal and integrative eHealth platform compiling the most feasible, brief and cost-effective interventions currently available in Europe to promote health and wellbeing, prevent common mental disorders and reduce the impact of mental health problems in the workplace.
The specific objectives of EMPOWER are to:
Objective 1: Develop, in collaboration with all stakeholder groups, a modular, culturally- and gender-sensitive multi-modal and integrative eHealth platform compiling the most feasible, brief and cost-effective interventions currently available in Europe to promote health and wellbeing, prevent common mental disorders and reduce the impact of mental health problems in the workplace, taking into account both contextual and individual factors, including co-morbidities.
Objective 2. Pilot the implementation of this eHealth platform by means of a randomized controlled trial directed to employees and employers of SMEs and public agencies, including workplaces with new working trends, such as remote jobs, from three European countries representing different cultural settings.
Objective 3. Evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit and potential societal impact of the eHealth platform and its components as well as the factors influencing a favourable uptake of the eHealth platform in practice.
Objective 4. Ensure that every action and output carried out within the EMPOWER project complies with any legal and ethical requirements and analyze work-related legislation and directives for mental health and wellbeing that could facilitate the implementation of the EMPOWER platform
Objective 5. Investigate the most effective implementation strategies for the successful uptake of the eHealth platform and determine, supported by input from collaborating stakeholders, the most appropriate strategy for the program.