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Depression in the Workplace

Clinical depression is one of the foremost costly illnesses, along with heart disease, cancer and AIDS. Depression costs the North American economy more than 55 billion each year in absenteeism from work, lost productivity and direct treatment costs. Depression tends to affect people in their prime working years and, if untreated, may last a lifetime. Fortunately, with early recognition, intervention and support, more than 80% of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated.

Know the Facts

  • Depression ranks among the top three workplace problems, following only family crisis and stress.
  • Three percent of short term disability days are due to depressive disorders, 76% of which involve female employees.
  • In a study conducted at First Chicago Corporation, depressive disorders accounted for more than half of all mental health problems. The amount for treatment of these claims was close to the amount spent on treatment for heart disease.v
  • An estimated 200 million work days are lost each year due to employee depression.
  • At any one time, one out of every 20 employees experiences depression.

Recognize Symptoms of Clinical Depression in the Workplace

No two people experience clinical depression in the same manner. People suffering from depression often experience a number of key symptoms which vary in severity and duration. In addition, depression often manifests itself in the workplace in the following ways:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Morale problems
  • Lack of cooperation
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Unexplained aches/pains
  • Safety problems, accidents
  • Excessive absenteeism
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
Depression affects employees at all levels of the corporate ladder. Managers and Supervisors who spot the warning signs can help employees seek treatment and, consequently, reduce an employers costs.

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