Facilitators and barriers to doing workplace mental health research: Case study of acute psychological trauma in a public transit system
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The Acute Psychological Trauma (APT) Study was a collaboration between an acute care hospital, a specialized multidisciplinary program designed to meet the mental health needs of injured workers, and a large urban public transit system. The overall purpose was to evaluate a Best Practices Intervention (BPI) for employees affected by acute psychological trauma compared to a Treatment as Usual (TAU) group. The specific purpose is to discuss facilitators and barriers that were recognized in implementing and carrying out mental health research in a workplace setting. Over the course of the APT study, a joint implementation committee was responsible for day-to-day study operations and made regular observations on the facilitators and barriers that arose throughout the study. The facilitators to this study included the longstanding relationships among the partners, increased recognition for the need of mental health research in the workplace, and the existence of a community advisory committee. The significant barriers to doing this study of mental health research in the workplace included differences in organizational culture, inconsistent union support, co-interventions, and stigma. Researchers and funding agencies need to be flexible and provide additional resources in order to overcome the barriers that can exist doing workplace mental health research.
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