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

AS@W...for Occupational Health and Disability Managers

Why should occupational health and disability managers be concerned with workplace mental health?

A key goal for occupational health and disability managers is disability prevention, achieved through reduction of the incidence of impairing illnesses or accidents – including depression – and also through minimization of the functional impact of such conditions when they do occur. If possible, it is desirable to support depressed workers to stay at work in a safe and productive manner while receiving appropriate treatment and support. This serves to maintain employees’ connection to their job, while at the same time minimizing the risk of disengagement, psychological de-conditioning and increased disability. At may at times, however, be appropriate and necessary for a depressed person to be absent from work in order to participate in treatment and regain their functioning. Given the explicit focus on workplace functioning, AS@W can be of value to a range of employees, including: employees who are at work; those who are off work and engaged in treatment; those who have demonstrated symptom relief and are participating in a work return process; and those employees who have successfully returned to work and want to avoid relapse.

Who would find AS@W of value?

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

How can occupational health and disability managers use AS@W?

Key considerations for occupational health and disability managers

Further Reading

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:

International Labour Organization. (2001). Mental health and work: Impact, Issues and good practice.  World Health Organization.

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.