Depression – How employers can help.

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.

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