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Ten percent of all employees in Europe have taken time off from work because of depression, according to a new survey conducted by the European Depression Association.
As many as 36 days were lost per depressive episode. Nearly half of all managers are asking for better policies and legislation to protect employees. There is concern that not enough support services or procedures exist to deal with depressed employees. Depression is the single largest mental health challenge for the working age demographic in Europe, affecting more than 30 million people.
Some causes of depression begin at the workplace. A Finnish study found that depression was higher in workplaces that showed a lack of team spirit. Stephen Hughes, Member of the European Parliament, stated:
"Depression in the workplace is an employment and societal challenge that is causing serious damage and which requires attention and action from the European Union. The inclusion of depression in the workplace in the new European Commission Strategy for Health and Safety at Work, backed up in the coming two years with legislative action, would represent excellent progress towards protecting Europe’s workers more effectively and ultimately contributing to economic and societal prosperity."
For this study, 7000 people all over Europe were interviewed. Of those, 20% reported a diagnosis of depression, the highest percentage coming from Great Britain. Italians had the lowest rate of depression. Germans took the most time off from work because of depression.
Depression cost the European Union 92 billion euros in 2010. Half of that amount was attributed to absenteeism.
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