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2014年2月10日 (月)

ストレス診断 うつ病の予防につなげたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 10, 2014
Workers’ stress diagnosis tests may help prevent depression
ストレス診断 うつ病の予防につなげたい(2月9日付・読売社説)

Can a government-envisaged program help prevent mental illnesses in the workplace and lead to measures to deal with such ailments at an early phase?
 心の病の予防と、早い段階での対処に効果を発揮するだろうか。

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to make it mandatory for businesses to conduct stress diagnosis tests on their employees.
 厚生労働省は企業に対し、従業員へのストレス診断を実施するよう義務付ける方針を決めた。

The ministry will submit a bill to revise the Industrial Safety and Health Law during the current Diet session, with a view to putting the program into force before the end of fiscal 2015.
今国会に労働安全衛生法改正案を提出し、2015年度中の実施を目指す。

Everyone feels some kind of stress at work. If that stress becomes excessive, workers run the risk of developing mental illness, such as depression. It is a serious problem that the number of recognized claims for work-related mental problems under the workmen's compensation insurance system has been rising.
 誰もが多少なりともストレスを抱えて働いている。ただ、過重なストレスは、うつ病などを引き起こす。精神疾患による労災認定が増えているのは問題だ。

The stress diagnosis program is not aimed at winnowing out workers with mental health problems. The ministry says the program is designed to help employees become aware of the signs of depression or other mental problems.
 ストレス診断は、従業員のふるい落としが目的ではない。従業員に、うつ病などのサインに気づいてもらう。

Companies under the program would be expected to throw their support behind treatment of their employees’ mental problems and to help them return to work, while taking steps to improve the workplace environment.
企業は社員の治療や職場復帰を支援し、職場環境の改善を図る。診断を定着させようという厚労省の狙いは理解できる。

Specifically, the program is designed to determine the degree of employees’ fatigue and anxiety once a year through questionnaires that would be evaluated either by a medical doctor or public health nurse. Individual employees would be able to request interviews with and advice from doctors, according to the ministry.
 具体的には、年に1回、医師か保健師が質問票を用いて、従業員の疲労度、不安感などを評価する。本人が希望すれば、医師の面接指導を実施する。

If a doctor suggests a worker needs to have his or her working burden reduced, the company would be obliged to take such measures as job reassignment or cutting the working hours of employees involved.
 勤務の負担を減らす必要があると医師が判断した場合、企業側に配置転換や労働時間短縮といった対策を求める仕組みだ。

Huge costs involved

The business activities of companies can be seriously affected if workers in their most productive years have to leave the workplace because of mental health problems. Arrangements to ensure workers’ mental health are also important from the viewpoint of reducing losses to society and the national economy. One estimate puts the value of losses due to workers’ mental problems at ¥2.7 trillion a year.
 働き盛りの従業員が、症状の悪化により職場を離れれば、企業活動に響く。心の健康対策は、社会や経済の損失を減らすためにも重要だ。損失額は年2・7兆円に上るとの試算もある。

However, there are many problems that must be resolved before making the stress diagnosis program obligatory.
 だが、ストレス診断の義務付けには、課題も多い。

The program, if carried out, will cover all company employees throughout the country, an estimated 55 million. Financial burdens for conducting a single round of stress diagnoses are projected to run to the tune of ¥10 billion for the business world as a whole.
 診断の対象は雇用者全体に及び、約5500万人に上る。診断を実施するには、産業界全体で、1回につき100億円単位の負担が生じるという。

Compared to the huge cost, what are the actual benefits? In-depth Diet deliberations on the bill are essential on the cost-benefit problem.
 コストに比べ、どの程度の効果があるのか。法案審議では、その観点からの議論が求められる。

It will also be difficult to secure a sufficient number of doctors to provide advice during interviews with employees with mental health problems.
 面接指導を行う医師の確保も課題だ。

No more than 47 percent of all companies have mental care systems for their employees. Smaller companies are particularly slow in addressing this problem as they have no physicians with industrial experience on call.
従業員へのメンタルヘルスケアを実施している企業は47%にとどまる。産業医のいない小規模な企業では、特に遅れている。

The health ministry should extend a helping hand to businesses in this matter through such steps as pressing practitioners with the industrial physician qualifications to play “family doctor” roles for small and midsize companies.
 産業医の資格を持つ開業医が中小企業の「かかりつけ医」となるように促すなど、厚労省は企業の対策を後押しすべきだ。

It is also necessary to ensure that support centers for mental health measures set up in each prefecture function effectively so they can help industrial physicians provide companies with expert advice on mental health.
 産業医らが企業に心の健康対策を助言するため、各都道府県に設置されている「メンタルヘルス対策支援センター」を有効に機能させることも必要だろう。

In addition, arrangements to support employees given leaves of absence after developing depression symptoms are highly important. This is because such people may not be able to easily return to work.
 うつ病を発症し、休職した場合の援助も大切である。再発しやすく、スムーズに職場復帰できるとは限らないからだ。

Some companies have produced positive results by having their employees on leaves of absence consult with clinical psychotherapists. Technical know-how relevant to such practices should be broadly shared in the business world.
 臨床心理士らが休職者にカウンセリングを行い、成果を上げている企業もある。そのノウハウを普及させていきたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 9, 2014)
(2014年2月9日00時23分  読売新聞)

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