Mental health, work and care: the value of multidisciplinary collaboration in psychiatry and occupational medicine

G. Mattei 1-3, G. Venturi 1, S. Ferrari 1 4, G.M. Galeazzi 1 4

1 Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, Section of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy; 2 School in Labor, Development and Innovation, Department of Economics & Marco Biagi Foundation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy; 3 Association for Research in Psychiatry, Castelnuovo Rangone (Modena), Italy; 4 Department of Mental Health and Drug Abuse, AUSL, Modena, Italy * This paper was presented as an oral presentation at the multidisciplinary seminar “Mental health and occupational medicine: [“Salute Mentale e medicina del lavoro: tanto in comune, tanto da fare”] (25 October 2017) during the VII Week of Mental Health of the Province of Modena (21-28 October 2017).


To investigate the relation between work and mental health in a multidisciplinary fashion.


This overview is based on books and articles purposely extracted from national and international literature published in the fields of psychiatry, occupational medicine, economics and labor law, written in Italian and English, without time limits; it is part of the BUDAPEST-RP Project launched in 2010 to study the effects of the economic crisis on the Italian population.


Some features of work and the labour market in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (desynchronization of time, increased external control, need of orderliness in the work relationships – i.e., decreased tolerance of work-conflicts, e.g., between the employer and the Unions –, hypernomia and heteronomy) mirror some psychopathological aspects of the pre-morbid personality prone to develop depression, and may act as environmental risk factors. This, coupled with increased unemployment and precariousness, especially affecting the young, prompt to finding evidence-based strategies to promote employment of people affected by mental disorders, seriously hit by unemployment in the years following the Great Recession. 


Work organization is the common denominator between the work environment conceived as a risk or protective factor for psychiatric disorders and the use of work in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation, by means of vocational rehabilitation programs. Given the intrinsic complexity of this common ground, networking is required between professionals of different backgrounds, to develop a multidisciplinary approach in the fields of care, research and education, and to foster a better integration between occupational health and psychiatry.

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