Treating depression increases productivity

Individuals who are treated for depression are more likely to be productive in the workplace than those who do not receive such care. This is the finding of new research published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, which considered a correlation between the two at a time when mental illness is costing the Canadian economy $51 billion (£33 billion) a year.

Investigators from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found those who experience a depressive episode can be considerably less productive in the office, with social participation, day-to-day functioning and comprehension all affected.

However, it was shown that treatment for the condition can improve productivity, with Dr Carolyna Dewa, head of the Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health at the CAMH - which was founded in 1998 - stating: "People who had experienced a moderate depressive episode and received treatment were 2.5 times more likely to be highly productive compared with those who had no treatment."

Professor Gail Kinman, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Mental health problems are widespread in the workforce and cannot be ignored by employers.

"One UK worker in six experiences mental health problems and the cost to employers is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year. Depression can lead to sickness absence and high turnover, as well as reduced productivity due to 'presenteeism' when employees come to work but function at less than full capacity.

"It has been estimated that depression can be treated quickly and effectively for more than 80 per cent of people. The findings of this research and other studies clearly indicate that employees who are treated for depression have improved work performance.

"There is therefore considerable incentive for employers and managers to reduce the stigma related to mental health problems, learn more about signs and symptoms and encourage their employees to obtain treatment."