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Hanisch, Sabine Elisabeth; Birner, Ulrich Walter; Oberhauser, Cornelia; Nowak, Dennis; Sabariego, Carla (2017): Development and Evaluation of Digital Game-Based Training for Managers to Promote Employee Mental Health and Reduce Mental Illness Stigma at Work: Quasi-Experimental Study of Program Effectiveness. In: JMIR Mental Health, Vol. 4, No. 3, e31
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BACKGROUND To counteract the negative impact of mental health problems on business, organizations are increasingly investing in mental health intervention measures. However, those services are often underused, which, to a great extent, can be attributed to fear of stigmatization. Nevertheless, so far only a few workplace interventions have specifically targeted stigma, and evidence on their effectiveness is limited. OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a digital game-based training program for managers to promote employee mental health and reduce mental illness stigma at work. METHODS We describe the empirical development of Leadership Training in Mental Health Promotion (LMHP), a digital game-based training program for leaders. A 1-group pre-post design and a 3-month follow-up were used for training evaluation. We applied multilevel growth models to investigate change over time in the dependent variables knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions to promote employee mental health in 48 managers of a global enterprise in the United Kingdom. Participants were mainly male (44/48, 92%) and ranged in age from 32 to 58 (mean 46.0, SD 7.2) years. RESULTS We found a positive impact of the Web-based training program on managers' knowledge of mental health and mental illness (P < 001), on attitudes toward people with mental health problems (P < 01), and on their self-efficacy to deal with mental health situations at work (P < 001), with the exception of intentions to promote employee mental health, which was initially high. CONCLUSIONS Results provide first evidence of the effectiveness of LMHP to positively affect managers' skills to promote employee mental health at work. Furthermore, the high rate of participation in LMHP (48/54, 89%) supports the use of digital game-based interventions to increase user engagement and user experience in mental health programs at work.