In 2003 it was estimated that the equivalent of 13.4m working days were lost in the U.K. because of workplace stress. The U.K.'s National Health Service is one of the biggest employers in the world so anything that reduces the number of days lost through stress could have a huge impact. The usual way of dealing with workplace stress is by using one-to-one, face-to-face counselling but telephone counselling can be cheaper and easier for people to use and bibliotherapy (giving people self-help books) can also be effective. A team of researchers, led by Catherine Kilfedder from the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Service in Edinburgh compared these three approaches in a 4-month study of 90 NHS employees. Their study concluded that overall the three methods were equally effective. As bibliotherapy is significantly cheaper than the other two options it was suggested that this was used first with people only moving on to telephone or face-to-face counselling if this proved unsuccessful.
Kilfedder, Catherine ... [et al] - A randomized trial of face-to-face counselling versus telephone counselling versus bibliotherapy for occupational stress Psychology and Psychotherapy: theory, research and practice September 2010, 83(3), 223-242