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(Boston) – Boston Medical Center (BMC) has been awarded a $1.4 million, three-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for researching and implementing a confidential workplace program aimed at better diagnosing and treating mental health disorders among working individuals.
The Telephone-Linked Communications for Detection of Mental Health Disorders in the Workplace (TLC-Detect) initiative will use a computer telephony system to communicate with workplace employees, evaluate whether they have a mental health disorder and provide referrals to untreated and inadequately treated workers.
Led by Robert Friedman, MD, general internist at BMC and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), researchers will focus on the program’s impact on workplace productivity, as well as improvement of symptoms among employees who have undiagnosed and/or untreated mental health disorders.
“Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States,” said Friedman. “While these disorders are treatable, only 16 percent of individuals seek support or treatment. This project will focus on educating and motivating employees to engage and remain in treatment, which in turn, will help increase workplace productivity and reduce absenteeism.”
BMC is one of 57 institutions to receive a grant by the CDC for developing an effective health promotion and disease prevention program at the workplace. The awards follow the CDC’s launch of the multi-year “Health Protection Research Initiative,” a grant program designed to promote much needed research in two critical public health areas: promoting health or preventing disease, injury or disability; and protecting people from health threats including infectious, environmental and terrorist threats.