Depression in the Workforce
Nearly a quarter of American workers have been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime and more than one third needed time off from work because of depression. This is a significant number of people.
The Impact of Depression at Work Audit survey results were recently released. The survey evaluated the social and economic burden of depression in the workplace. Participants included 1000 adults aged 16 to 64 who have been workers or managers within the last year. The survey indicates that depression has a significant negative impact on workplace productivity.
Twenty-three percent of those surveyed reported being diagnosed with depression in their lifetime, and 39% needed time off from work because of their depression. Most took around 10 days off work the last time they experienced a depressive episode, reporting low mood or sadness (78%), loss of interest in daily activities (58%), and cognitive-related problems (52%) as 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 exacerbated the feeling of being at work but not being successfully engaged or productive.
Brian Klepper, chief executive officer of the National Business Coalition on Health, said in a news release:
“The survey provides evidence surrounding the detrimental impact of depression on the US workforce and the associated stigma of the disease. The results demonstrate the vital need for employers to provide support and resources in the workplace for those suffering from this debilitating disease.”
Roughly, 35% of managers surveyed said they had no formal support or resources to help their employees with depression. In addition, 58% of employees with depression said they had not told their employer of their disease and 49% felt that telling their employer would put their job at risk, especially in the current job market.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 10 Americans will suffer from a depressive illness in a given year.
These figures directly contribute to the estimated $100 billion annually spent on depression costs by U.S. employers including $44 billion a year in lost productivity. Depression is an often preventable illness that is costing both society and individuals.
Seek help from professionals to learn about evidence-based depression therapies and alternatives to prescription anti-depressants. Depression can affect men, women, kids and the elderly, across a wide socio-economic range. There’s no need to suffer. Ask for help now if you suffer from depression.