Objective: Depression and suicide-related behaviours are important issues for workers, and the number of Japanese companies contracting with the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to promote employees' mental health has recently increased. However, no longitudinal studies have reported that the EAP maintains or improves the overall level of depression among employees qualitatively. Thus, we attempted to assess the impact of the EAP on depression and suicide-related behaviours in the workplace.
Results: In the EAP group, the total HAM-D scores significantly decreased after the 2-year study period (P=0.0011); the changes in the scores of the five HAM-D items (i.e., suicidal thoughts, agitation, psychomotor retardation, guilt, and depressed mood) were significant. Specifically, 19 (86%) of the 22 workers with a positive response to the suicidal thoughts item (i.e., score >or= 1) at baseline reported that they no longer had suicidal thoughts (i.e., score=0) after the 2 year study period. No significant changes were observed in the reference group. The three JCQ scores were not significantly different between the baseline and after the 2 year study period in both groups.
Conclusion: Although further studies are needed, EAPs may be a promising strategy for maintaining the good mental health of workers.