NIOSH seeks input on interventions to prevent, lower stress for health workers, first responders

The CDC division is seeking evidence-based responses from employers, unions, workers, researchers, treatment providers and government agencies


By Leila Merrill

WASHINGTON — What are the best workplace and occupational health and safety interventions to prevent work-related stress, help reduce stress and foster mental health for U.S. health workers?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is asking for evidence-based responses to that question from employers, unions, workers, researchers, treatment providers and government agencies at all levels. NIOSH may use the information it gathers to provide resources and training efforts.

The CDC which NIOSH is a part of, is required by the American Rescue Plan Act to educate health workers and first responders on preventing mental health problems and substance use disorders. The CDC is also required to encourage health workers and first responders to recognize and seek support for their mental health or substance abuse issues.

Toward that end, NIOSH is gathering comments about successful or promising programs and practices. These can include, but are not limited to, employee assistance programs, screenings, workplace policies, talk therapy, mindfulness, peer support, supervisor trainings and mobile apps.

Comments are due by Nov. 26. Comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov or via mail if addressed to NIOSH Docket Office, Robert A. Taft Laboratories, MS C-34, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998.

The information NIOSH gathers — in the forms of narratives, data or anecdotes — may be used in a nationwide effort to raise awareness of mental health concerns, find best practices to prevent and reduce work stress, find workplace and community support, and reduce stigma about care.

According to a CDC document, NIOSH may “develop a repository of best practices, resources and interventions; identify and adapt tools; improve data and surveillance; and develop trainings and resources to inform and support employer policy change. NIOSH will also generate awareness by conducting a national social marketing campaign to provide tools and resources to employers, normalize the conversation around mental health, and lower barriers for health workers seeking care for mental health.”

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