AS@W Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace

AS@W...for Mental Health Care Providers

Why should mental health care providers be concerned with the workplace?

Mental health difficulties are major contributors to occupational impairment, absence and disability.  This is particularly true for depression, the primary source of disability in many occupational sectors. Mental health clinicians in a range of settings – including private practice and Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP) – are in a key position to assist working individuals with mood problems and possible depression, with the goal of preventing worsening of symptoms and impairment of functioning. Indeed, many employees are more likely to approach their EFAP or a private practitioner when they are experiencing personal difficulties, whether or not they recognize this as depression. Managers or supervisors may also recommend EFAP or private practitioner services when they are concerned about the workplace function and well-being of one of their employees. Should these concerns require a formal diagnosis and/or treatment that is beyond the scope of an EFAP or private practitioner, referral to a mental health specialist may be required. However, specialist mental health consultation and/or provision of non-pharmacological intervention from a psychologist, psychiatrist or occupational physician is often unavailable. Provision of practical self-care materials such as AS@W can be of significant benefit.

Who would find AS@W of value?

There are a number of clients who may benefit from the availability of AS@W:

How can mental health care providers use AS@W?

Key considerations for mental health care providers

Further Reading

Bilsker, D., Gilbert, M., Myette, L., Stewart-Patterson, Chris. (2004). Depression and work function: Bridging the gap between mental health and the workplace. Vancouver, BC: Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit. Available at:

Gilbert, M., Samra, J., & Bilsker, D. (2007). Managing employees with depression: Some suggestions for improvement. Back to Work, 6-9. Available at:

Moll, S. (2007) When Something's Wrong: Strategies for the Workplace. Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation. Available at:


About AS@W

How was Antidepressant Skills at Work developed?

The guide was developed by British Columbia Mental Health and Addiction Services (BCMHAS), an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. The guide and accompanying materials have been authored by Dr. Dan Bilsker, Dr. Merv Gilbert, and Dr. Joti Samra – registered psychologists and scientist-practitioners with expertise in issues relating to workplace mental health. These psychologists are with the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA), Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University. The guide was written on the basis of a review of the scientific literature; consultation with employers, unions, mental health providers and employee groups; and adaptation of existing self-care depression programs.

How can the manual be accessed?

The manual is available for viewing and free download at or from Individuals or organizations are free to print and make multiple copies of the guide, with permission from CARMHA. Print copies and audio CDs are available at a low cost from our ordering page at

For further information about AS@W and associated resources and materials, please visit . This information will be updated on a regular basis.