Background To address the problem of sickness absence due to mental disorders, guidelines have been developed in various countries.
Objectives To assess available guidelines on the management of mental disorders in an occupational health care setting on their quality and to compare recommendations.
Methods Guidelines were selected by systematically searching PubMed, Guidelines International Network Library, and National Guideline Clearinghouse. In addition, members of the International Commission on Occupational Health were consulted. Quality of guidelines was assessed with the AGREEII instrument and recommendations were compared.
Results Fifteen guidelines were included: 1 Japanese, 1 Danish, 2 Finnish, 2 South-Korean, 2 British and 7 Dutch. The quality of the guidelines varied. Barriers and facilitators for implementation (Applicability), competing interests (Editorial independences), and the process to gather and synthesise evidence (Rigour of Development) were poorest described. The domain Scope and Purpose scored highest. Recommendations concerning assessment refer to diagnostic classification, inventory of performance problems, causal factors and barriers for recovery. Specific workplace factors are often mentioned. Guidelines agree on work adaptation if necessary, psychological treatment and communication about treatment plan between involved actors.
Discussion Guidelines are difficult to find since they are commonly exclusively available in local languages. Therefore probably more guidelines exist then found. To learn from each other, guidelines should be translated into world languages and be accessible via international databases.
Implications Guideline developers can use AGREEII to increase quality. Although social context may differ among countries and can influence guideline recommendations, developers can learn from each other through reviews of this kind.
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