The IDeA survey shows that depression has a significant impact on workplace productivity.
Twenty-three percent of those surveyed reported having been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime, and 39% needed time off from work as a result of their depression. Most took around 10 days off work the last time they experienced a depressive episode.
Low mood/sadness (78%), loss of interest in daily activities (58%), and cognitive-related problems (52%) were the symptoms that led most depressed workers to take time off from work.
Two thirds (64%) of depressed workers reported that cognitive-related challenges, such as difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, and/or forgetfulness, had the most impact on their ability to do their job. Challenges related to thinking on the job are known to exacerbate so-called “presenteeism” ― being at work but not being engaged or productive.
Despite the negative impact depression has on workers, the survey found that 58% of employees with depression said they had not told their employer of their disease. Nearly half (49%) felt that telling their employer would put their job at risk, and given the economic climate, 24% felt it was too risky to share their diagnosis with their employer.
Roughly 35% of managers surveyed said they had no formal support or resources to help their employees with depression.
The Employers Health Coalition, Inc, and the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, has created the Right Direction initiative (www.RightDirectionForMe.com), a depression awareness campaign designed to provide employers with the tools needed to address and manage the effects of depression for employees.