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Depression in the Workplace

Who gets depressed?

With nearly 10% of the population affected by depression each year, it is no wonder that depression has a big impact on the workplace. Success in the workplace depends on everyone's contribution, so it cannot be ignored. Depression can affect any profession or job level, so anyone can become depressed, including formerly outstanding employees.

What are the costs?

To Employers: Depression that goes untreated is costly. One recent study has found that people with depressive symptoms spend more days in bed than those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, back problems, lung problems or gastrointestinal disorders-costing as much as billion a year! The price tag continues to escalate if a worker's depression leads to alcohol and/or drug abuse.

To Employees: The cost to depressed employees is anguish. The hopelessness, exhaustion, and sadness can carry over into their jobs and cause missed days, inability to focus, and withdrawal from friends and co-workers. In addition, depressed people may worry that their decreased productivity will lead to being fired and that seeking treatment will make them unemployable in the future. An employee's work performance may be also affected if a spouse or child is suffering from depression.

What can you do?

Everyone in the workplace can do something about depression. The first step is to learn more about this common illness. If you or someone you know is suffering, take action.

If you are depressed, please seek help! An employee assistance program (EAP) counselor or your HAP personal care physician (PCP) can refer you to the appropriate resources. Getting a diagnosis is the first step to recovery-many people report that knowing what is wrong gives them a sense of relief and empowerment.

If you or a coworker is experiencing any of these symptoms-persistent feelings of sadness, decreased interest in and performance on the job, a tendency to be accident prone, or increased absenteeism-it's time to talk with a professional. Call the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at your organization or HAP's Coordinated Behavioral Health Management Department (CBHM) at 1-800-444-5755. CBHM services are confidential and help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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