Addressing Depression in the Workplace

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) contends that workplace depression is a “common, chronic and often recurring disorder” with a substantial impact on all facets of employee and organizational performance. In order to properly rehabilitate workers who are suffering from depression, it is critical for employers to understand the illness – and to seek help from qualified mental health professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression affects approximately one out of every ten adults in the country. It is a debilitating and costly illness.Employee depression can result in the following workplace concerns:

• Excessive absenteeism
• Reduced productivity
• Risk to employment status
• Disruption of work flow and environment
• High health care, disability and company costs

Because only some patients struggling with depression will be able to correctly identify and seek treatment for the disease on their own, many cases will develop unnoticed. Astute observation and intervention from fellow employees, psychologists and workplace personnel are thus critical factors in the timely diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of depressed persons.

Depression is one of the most expensive health problems in the workplace, and especially in today’s economy it is essential that measures be set in place to defray the costs of on-the-job mental illness for the benefit of employees and organizations alike.

Source: Stephen M. Pfeiffer | PhD | Workplace Depression: Mental Health Treatment and Employee Productivity | December 2012 | La Jolla Light

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