Swedish government introduces mental health support for employees

The Social Partners' Council of Sweden has announced that it is making mental health training available to 270,000 government employees whose workload has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The programme is part of a comprehensive nationwide approach to protecting and promoting a sustainable work-life in Sweden and has been developed in partnership with the 29k Foundation.

Stress is currently the biggest cause of long-term absence among government employees in Sweden and since the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the situation further, the country is now taking action to support mental health initiatives. The UK has also seen an increase in stress related work absences during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data collated by e-days

Head of the Social Partners' Council, Emilia Liljefrost, has stated:

"In facing this pandemic, our government employees are more important than ever and it is crucial that they stay healthy - both physically and mentally. Given recent developments, this launch could not have come at a better time and the pure scalability of this program will enable us to make a big difference in the public sector.”

The training programme gives government employees access to evidence-based tools for stress reduction and allow participants to conduct individual and group exercises, such as meditations and conversations, in a digital environment. 

CEO of the 29k Foundation, Erik Fernholm, has stated:

"Research shows that digital interventions can be very effective in treating elevated stress levels and sharing that experience with others has great benefits. For that reason, we have developed a program that gives access to a variety of tools, including digital video meetings with small groups of colleagues, which also help participants to cope with the social isolation of the pandemic."

The initiative will be rolled out to 247 state authorities and organisations that are members of the Social Partners' Council. As the 29k Foundation operates globally, the programme will also be implemented by international parties – although these have not yet been disclosed.