New Study Shows Depression Treatment Can Actually Increase Work Productivity

Posted on January 21st, 2012
Posted in Articles

A recent study out of Canada revealed that employees battling depression, who also receive treatment while working, are much more likely to be productive than those not seeking treatment. This study was the first that looked into the possible relationship between productivity and treatment, according to a recent article.

This is a significant finding during a time when the economy of Canada remains uncertain and mental illness costs are around $51 billion each year, with one third of that amount related to losses in productivity. Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of CAMH’s research center, says that past research found depression to affect comprehension, day to day functions and social participation. Dewa says they expected people with depressive episodes to be much less likely to remain productive in the workplace but what they also found is that treatment for it actually highly improves productivity in the workplace.

Dewa says they found that among the 3,000 workers in their sample study, eight and a half percent experienced some sort of depressive episode. This sample study represented 255 of those workers. The good news is that those with severe depressive periods were seven times more probable to perform highly than those without treatment. Though the results showed positive aspects of treatment and its effectiveness on work performance, there was a troubling trend also. Dewa says that unfortunately, among the entire group of participants with a severe depression diagnosis, the majority didn’t receive any treatment. 57 percent of those with severe depression and 40 percent with moderate depression did not seek any help or treatment. Sadly, because of the discrimination and stigmas still associated with depression many are unwilling to seek help.

Dewa says the study really points out the importance of prevention for depression if we are really going to see success in the workplace. If workers receive early intervention, companies can avoid disability leave which typically costs employers $18,000 per leave.

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