Federal government will fund counselling to help prevent burnout

In a bid to step up the fight against long-term illness, the Belgian federal government wants to fund free counselling for people who show the first signs of burnout. There is also legislation in the pipeline to prevent musculoskeletal diseases, which have been keeping 200,000 workers and self-employed people at home for more than a year. De Tijd reported these findings on Wednesday.

In Belgium, half a million workers and self-employed people have been off work for more than a year due to illness. A third of the cases involve people with back and muscle injuries, while another third concern psychosocial disorders, one of which is burnout.

Federal Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke of Flemish socialists Vooruit is freeing up 6 million euros to roll out counselling for those showing early symptoms of burnout. The aim is to help up to 1,650 people a year avoid burnout.

"Learning to deal appropriately with tensions at work is one of the most important challenges of today," Vandenbroucke said. "Many employees lose meaning or experience too much stress. We must continue to provide employers and employees with optimal support in their efforts to achieve greater well-being at work."

Additionally, federal Work minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne, of francophone socialist party PS, is drafting a royal decree that puts the risk of muscle and back injuries at wrok on the same level as exposure to carcinogenic substances or psychosocial risks.

These further warnings should lead companies, prevention services and occupational doctors to take the issue more seriously. While both employers and unions agree with this approach, confirmation from the Council of State on the royal decree draft is still needed.



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