The main goal of the MentalHealthMatters project is to propose measures to better prepare Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) systems and professionals as well as small and medium sized enterprises to address the workforce’s current and emerging psychosocial risks at work. OSH standards are mainly focusing on physical hazards and accident prevention, and the MentalHealthMatters project will put attention to mental well-being at work which is as crucial as physical health.
National priorities of the project partner countries are covering a wide array of themes from creating a safe and healthy working environment in the cleaning industry in Norway to interprofessional education for occupational health professionals in Finland, raising awareness for psychosocial risks among employers in Latvia, future trends in the world of work and their impact on mental health in working life in Estonia and the gaps in the OSH system in relation to prevention of employees’ mental health problems in Poland.
While a large part of the project work will be done nationally with the communities of practice, a common goal of MentalHealthMatters is to share knowledge and experiences and to publish a First-Aid Kit and a Roadmap. The First-Aid Kit will be an online tool, providing answers to the most important and actual questions that small and medium size enterprises’ owners and managers may have when facing psychosocial issues in their companies. The Roadmap will propose national and transnational actions for better response to psychosocial risks in OSH policy, practice and education.
The mental health of employees is an emerging concern for societies and employers in the Baltic Sea Region. Even before the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, half of EU workers considered stress to be common in their workplace, and stress contributed to around half of all lost working days. Protecting workers and preserving their work ability is the objective of the NDPHS OSH Expert Group.
The project partnership is comprised of the NDPHS Secretariat as a lead partner and five institutions that are represented in the NDPHS OSH Expert Group: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FI), Tallinn University of Technology (EE), Riga Stradins University (LV), Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (PL), Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (NO).
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Text: Zane Vilnite, the NDPHS Secretariat
The MentalHealthMatters project is financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2021-2027.