Supporting employers and their employees with Mental hEalth problems to remain eNgaged and producTive at wORk (MENTOR): A feasibility randomised controlled trial protocol

Arianna Prudenzi, Feroz Jadhakhan, Kiranpreet Gill, Michael MacArthur, Krishane Patel, Talar Moukhtarian, Charlotte Kershaw, Errin Norton-Brown, Naomi Johnston, Guy Daly, Sean Russell, Louise Thomson, Fehmidah Munir, Holly Blake, Caroline Meyer, Steven Marwaha

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    Abstract

    Employees with mental health problems often struggle to remain in employment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these employees face multiple additional stressors, which are likely to worsen their mental health and work productivity. Currently, it is unclear how to best support employees with mental health problems (and their managers) to improve wellbeing and productivity. We aim to develop a new intervention (MENTOR) that will jointly involve employees, managers, and a new professional (mental health employment liaison worker, MHELW), to help employees who are still at work with a mental health condition and currently receiving professional support for their mental health. A feasibility pilot study will then be undertaken to examine the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention from the perspective of employees and line managers. The study involves a feasibility randomised controlled study comparing outcomes of participants randomised to receive the intervention (MENTOR) with wait-list controls. Participants allocated to the waitlist control group will receive the intervention after three months. We aim to randomise 56 employee-manager pairs recruited from multiple organisations in the Midlands region of England. An intervention including 10 sessions for employees and managers (3 individual sessions and 4 joint sessions) will be delivered over 12 weeks by trained MHELWs. Primary outcomes include measures of feasibility and acceptability of the intervention and work productivity. Secondary outcomes include mental health outcomes. Qualitative interviews will be undertaken with a purposively selected sub-sample of employees and line managers at three-month post-intervention assessment. To our knowledge, this will be the first trial with a joint employee-manager intervention delivered by MHELWs. Anticipated challenges are dual-level consent (employees and managers), participants' attrition, and recruitment strategies. If the intervention and trial processes are shown to be feasible and acceptable, the outcomes from this study will inform future randomised controlled trials. Trial registration: This trial is pre-registered with the ISRCTN registry, registration number: ISRCTN79256498. Protocol version: 3.0_March_2023. https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN79256498. [Abstract copyright: Copyright: © 2023 Prudenzi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.]
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0283598
    Number of pages23
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume18
    Issue number4
    Early online date20 Apr 2023
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

    Bibliographical note

    © 2023 Prudenzi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    Funder

    This research was supported by Midlands Engine (https://www.midlandsengine.org/). The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the funder. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for all the authors, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions. The funders had and will not have a role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. They accept no responsibility for the content.

    Keywords

    • Humans
    • Pandemics
    • Pilot Projects
    • Feasibility Studies
    • Mentors
    • COVID-19 - epidemiology
    • Mental Health
    • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

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