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Down on Being Down
“I feel my best when I’m happy.” Winona Ryder
Emotions do indeed play a role in productivity, morale and customer service.
Any guess what medical condition or health risk is the most costly to employers? If you guessed stress, smoking, obesity, inactivity or diabetes you are way off the mark. In fact, the most costly is depression and can affect 20% of any of us during our lifetime1.
Depression takes a pretty heavy toll on the
In a recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association, researchers reported on how a telephone treatment program had a substantial impact on cost savings, return to work and minimizing the length of the depressive symptoms compared to a control group2.
The study involved 604 workers at 16 large
Employees who received the telephone intervention worked, on average, about two weeks more during the yearlong study than those in the control group and more workers in the intervention group were still employed at the end of the study. Finally, the intervention employees were almost 40 percent more likely to recover from depression during the year long study.
Preliminary cost savings from more hours worked averaged about $1,800 per employee compared to the program’s initial $100 to $400 per worker cost.
It would appear that work/life balance benefits, including mental health insurance, would be something that employers would see value given just how prevalent and devastating depression can be in the workplace (Clinical depression affects about 7% - 18% of the population on at least one occasion in their lives, before the age of 40).
Furthermore, recent research with 24,324 employed workers, suggests that increased levels of job strain and a lack of social support at work are associated with higher risk of depression3. Here are some keys to identifying depression in bosses and co-workers:
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
One of the following major elements are typically observed for at least 2 weeks to suggest that an employee is experiencing depression. These include:
1. Depressed mood (feeling sad, helpless or hopeless etc.)
It is sufficient to have either of these symptoms in conjunction with five of a list of other symptoms over a two-week period. These include:
The good news is that depression is typically treatable and for employees, getting some help would appear to be a direct cost savings for employers.