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From the President's Corner

    Depression in The Workplace

    I have always been a proponent of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). They serve both as a valuable tool for the Human Resources professional and as an added benefit to the employee as well.

    According to Mental Health America clinical depression has become one of America’s most costly illnesses. Left untreated, depression is as costly as heart disease to the U.S. economy, costing over $51 billion in absenteeism from work and lost productivity.

    Depression tends to affect people in their prime working years and may last a lifetime if untreated. More than 80 percent of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated although the fact remains depression ranks among the top three workplace problems for employee assistance professionals, following only family crisis and stress.

    In a study of First Chicago Corporations, depressive disorders accounted for more than half of all medical plan dollars paid for mental health problems. The amount for treatment of these claims was close to the amount spent on treatment for heart disease.

    3% of total short term disability days are due to depressive disorders and in 76% of those cases, the employee was female.

    Males are less likely to show “typical” signs of depression, such as crying, sadness, hopelessness, or excessive guilt. Instead men are more likely to keep their feelings hidden and may turn to alcohol or drugs when they are depressed. Some men become discouraged, angry, irritable, and sometimes violently abusive.

    Almost 15% of all those suffering from severe depression will die by suicide.

    Most employers will refer a depressed employee for help if they are aware of the symptoms. 64% of the National Mental Health Association survey respondents said they would refer an employee to an EAP health professional.

    What should you do if you’re concerned about depression?

    If several symptoms listed above persist for longer than two weeks make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor can either start treatment or refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for further evaluation.

    If you suspect that you or a family member may be suffering from depression, contact your Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling or information.


    Very Respectfully,

    Mike Polis

    Chapter President/Montgomery SHRM