Initiative Aims to Help Employers With Depression

Canton, Ohio — May 15

To help combat the significant impact of depression on individuals and businesses, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, and Employers Health, a national employer coalition based in Ohio, are introducing Right Direction, an initiative to raise awareness about depression in the workplace and its effect on productivity.

The initiative, officially launched Wednesday at the Employers Health Annual Employer Symposium in North Canton, Ohio, will be presented to the mental health community during the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting on May 18-22 in San Francisco.

Depression can have a profound impact in the workplace because of absenteeism but also due to presenteeism — being at work, but not engaged. This is exacerbated by cognitive symptoms that occur with depression, including difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness and forgetfulness, which can affect up to 94 percent of patients.

Researchers found that absence, disability and lost productivity from depression cost employers more than four times the cost of employee medical treatment, even when workers’ compensation medical costs are considered.

Additionally, data show that mental illness short-term disability claims are growing by 10 percent annually and can account for 30 percent or more of the corporate disability experience for the typical employer.

In developing Right Direction, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Employers Health engaged an employer workgroup composed of representatives from corporate, government and nonprofit organizations to ensure the resources developed meet the varying business needs of employers.

The end result is the Right Direction Field Guide, a toolkit including a step-by-step implementation plan, approach to sharing the business case with the C-suite, educational presentations as well as corresponding promotional resources such as posters, intranet copy and template materials, which can be developed into TV slides.

Source: Partnership for Workplace Mental Health