« 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「年相応」の生活楽しんで /東京 | トップページ | 出生数過去最少 結婚・出産支援も強化したい »

2013年6月10日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:リワークプログラム /東京

June 02, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Making a gradual comeback from depression
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:リワークプログラム /東京

It's not uncommon these days to hear of people who have had to take a long time off work due to depression. About 60 percent of companies and other workplaces in one survey said their staff ranks included people with mental health problems.

What do workers do after succumbing to such problems? The first thing is probably to see a psychiatrist or visit a department of psychosomatic medicine, and if necessary, obtain a doctor's certificate saying the person needs time off work. The person will then likely receive appropriate treatment, resting at home.

When the patient shows signs of recovery and expresses a desire to return to work, their doctor is likely to tell them, "It's dangerous to return to work right away. You should get used to returning to work a little at a time."

Why, exactly, is it dangerous for someone to return to work right after recovering? Though the person's symptoms may have disappeared, there's a big difference between resting at home and commuting to work and performing one's job. Patients who have recovered from depression, in particular, have to avoid overexerting themselves mentally and physically. It's therefore undesirable for them to use up a great deal of energy stemming from the tension of suddenly working fulltime once more.

In that case, the person should first get used to commuting to work. Before making a full return to work, the person needs to gradually get used to working once more, meeting their colleagues face-to-face, for example.

This said, quite a few firms and business establishments will tell the person, "We don't have any system for a gradual return to work." Some people wanting to return to work therefore first want to set a lower hurdle for themselves and undergo rehabilitation.

Medical institutions, administrative bodies or nonprofit organizations can help these patients through so-called "rework programs." Under these, the patients first practice getting on the train at a set time each day and traveling to a specified location. They practice speaking with people other than family members, work at computers and perform research, acquiring the skills that will prevent them from succumbing to depression. Recently such programs have attracted much attention in mental health circles.

The clinic where I work doesn't have such a program, so I seek the assistance of other medical institutions in treating patients thinking of returning to work. At those times, I always think about how dangerous it is to rush full steam into anything after once having slowed one's pace down. And that goes for things besides depression.

It's the same after a worker has been sick from a cold or other ailment, when someone has taken time off due to bereavement, or after a period when they have been unable to concentrate on their work due to the death of a family member or other personal circumstances. During such times, rather than thinking "I'm going to make up for the time I was off," how about instead making an effort to return to one's original pace step by step?

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年05月28日 地方版


« 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「年相応」の生活楽しんで /東京 | トップページ | 出生数過去最少 結婚・出産支援も強化したい »





« 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「年相応」の生活楽しんで /東京 | トップページ | 出生数過去最少 結婚・出産支援も強化したい »