As part of a larger study into stress, absence and reintegration (Stress Impact 2003–2005), semistructured interviews were carried out with a range of professionals including general practitioners, occupational health physicians, health and safety officers, human resource professionals, general managers, mental health professionals and return-to-work coordinators. The aim of the study was to explore professional perceptions of stress recognition/diagnosis, experiences, stress factors, interventions, referrals, the return-to-work process and disability management in six European Union jurisdictions (Austria, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The most striking characteristic of the responses was the lack of congruence in views and beliefs within the same professional group across jurisdictional boundaries and between professionals within the same jurisdiction. There was little evidence that any clear message is getting across to professionals. Professionals need to respond more flexibly to stress-related absence, particularly in the use of psychosocial and work-based disability management supports or interventions.