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Treating depression in the workplace may boost productivity: study

January 18, 2012

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Toronto – Treating depressed workers while they are still working may increase productivity and avoid disability-leave costs, indicates research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Data from a survey of employees from Alberta, Canada, showed lower productivity among workers who had experienced a depressive episode. However, workers who received treatment were 2.5 times more likely to be highly productive compared with workers with untreated depression. Likewise, workers with severe depression were 7 times more likely to be high-performing with treatment.

Yet almost 60 percent of participants who had a severe depressive episode, and 40 percent of those with a moderate episode, received no treatment, the study found. 

Noting that stigma and discrimination affect a person’s willingness to seek help, the authors recommended that employers offer mental health interventions and support to employees.

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