AbstractThe local economy is often supported by small and medium-sized enterprises. There is a need to consider effective promotion methods for mental health measures in these enterprises in depopulated mountainous areas. It is important to understand managers' awareness when considering effective mental health measures in these enterprises. The study's aim is to explore managers' awareness of mental health measures for employees in small and medium-sized enterprises in depopulated mountainous areas in Japan.Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 managers in 2019. The primary issues addressed by the interview were regarding the awareness among managers about mental health promotion measures for employees. These are the primary prevention measures. The interview also addressed issues related to the awareness of measures for mental health problems that are fundamental to the secondary and tertiary prevention measures. A qualitative descriptive analysis was conducted.Three categories and 8 subcategories emerged regarding the managers' awareness of mental health promotion measures for employees. The 3 categories were: "Individual support, including their life's aspect, while taking advantage of formal and informal relationships," "The difficulty of drawing out an employees' motivation to work, due to the changes over time in the work size or in their working relationships," and "Creating a comfortable working environment for employees, by complying with the labor standards and adjusting relationships." Regarding managers' awareness of the measures for mental health problems, four categories and 8 subcategories emerged. The 4 categories were: "Prevention and awareness of the incidence of mental health problems," "Individual support based on the enterprise's or employee's characteristics," "A lack of support for the manager to address employees' mental health problems," and "Employees quitting the job, due to the lack of appropriate support."Though managers in depopulated mountainous areas were well aware of the mental health activities offered, the categories showed the need to foster social capital. It also showed the need to collaborate with external support organizations, and the difficulties faced by small and medium-sized enterprises.
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