An integrated workplace mental health intervention in a policing context: Protocol for a cluster randomised control trial

Anthony Daniel LaMontagne, Allison Milner, Amanda Allisey, Kathryn Page, Nicola J Reavley, Angela J. Martin, Irina Tchernitskaia, Andrew J Noblet, Lauren Purnell, Katrina Gisela Witt, Tessa Keegel, Peter Smith

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BACKGROUND: In this paper, we present the protocol for a cluster-randomised trial to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of a workplace mental health intervention in the state-wide police department of the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria. n. The primary aims of the intervention are to improve psychosocial working conditions and mental health literacy, and secondarily to improve mental health and organisational outcomes.
METHODS/DESIGN: The intervention was designed collaboratively with Victoria Police based on a mixed methods pilot study, and combines multi-session leadership coaching for the senior officers within stations (e.g., Sergeants, Senior Sergeants) with tailored mental health literacy training for lower and upper ranks. Intervention effectiveness will be evaluated using a two-arm cluster-randomised trial design, with 12 police stations randomly assigned to the intervention and 12 to the non-intervention/usual care control condition. Data will be collected from all police members in each station (estimated at >20 per station). Psychosocial working conditions (e.g., supervisory support, job control, job demands), mental health literacy (e.g., knowledge, confidence in assisting someone who may have a mental health problem), and mental health will be assessed using validated measures. Organisational outcomes will include organisational depression disclosure norms, organisational cynicism, and station-level sickness absence rates. The trial will be conducted following CONSORT guidelines. Identifying data will not be collected in order to protect participant privacy and to optimise participation, hence changes in primary and secondary outcomes will be assessed using a two-sample t-test comparing summary measures by arm, with weighting by cluster size.
DISCUSSION: This intervention is novel in its integration of stressor-reduction and mental health literacy-enhancing strategies. Effectiveness will be rigorously evaluated, and if positive results are observed, the intervention will be adapted across Victoria Police (total employees ~16,500) as well as possibly in other policing contexts, both nationally and internationally.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN82041334. Registered 24th July, 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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