This article relates one aspect of an action research project on work related stress and mental health problems to its wider context. It is argued that self‐help/mutual aid, including self‐management, could make an important contribution to tackling the current epidemic of work‐related stress in the UK and elsewhere. Initiatives such as the government's Work‐Life Balance campaign indicate that the policy context is appropriate. An overview of the causes, costs of, and policy responses to work‐related stress is followed by a discussion on the nature of self‐help/mutual aid and the benefits that the sharing of experiential knowledge can bring to participants. This includes a specific, structured form of self‐help: self‐management programmes as led and used by mental health user groups. We conclude that self‐help initiatives can make a valuable contribution to addressing work‐related stress if employers support them. Beyond simply ameliorating staff retention problems, the experiential learning communities that could be created could be an asset, particularly in seeking to change workplace cultures to minimise work‐related mental stresses.
Journal of Public Mental Health – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2003
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