Despite Depression Many People Remain Working

By Photographer's Mate Third Class Jayme Pastoric, United States Navy. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In March 2015, a German pilot flew a Germanwings plane into a mountainside in the French Alps. The word that was thrown around at the time was “depression.” What did the airline know about the pilot’s mental condition and by law, was he even required to let them know?

Being depressed is a very common occurrence and it very different from deliberately causing an airplane crash and killing innocent passengers. However, the experts have been weighing in on the crash and it increases the stigma those with mental illness are
already facing.

It can become very difficult for someone suffering from depression to be open and honest about the issue.

According to statistical information from the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 16 million U.S. citizens have had at least one major episode in the past year. Of that number, many people struggle with whether to speak out about their depression in the workplace.

Workplace Depression

Clinical depression has become one of the United States most costly problems. When left untreated, depression can be as costly as treating HIV/AIDS and heart disease. According to Mental Health America, depression costs the U.S. economy more than $51 billion in absenteeism from work and lost productivity and $26 billion in direct costs for treatment.

Depression is more likely to affect people during their prime working years and could last an entire lifetime if it remains untreated. More than 80% of individuals suffering from clinical depression can be successfully treated using the proper methods.

With early recognition, diagnosis and support, many employees are able to get over depression and regain the ability to live a normal and functional life.

Know the Facts about Depression

Depression ranks among the top three problems for employee’s receiving assistance in the workplace, followed by family crisis and stress. Around 3 percent of short term disability days are used because of depressive episodes and in 76 percent of cases, the employees are women.

In 1995, the average annual cost of treating a depressed employee was around $600.00. Nearly one-third of these costs were related to treatment and 72 percent were costs due to absenteeism and lost productivity in the workplace.

Often a depressed employee will not seek treatment, due to a fear of it affecting their job and they are worried about confidentiality being maintained. Many employees are not aware they are dealing with depression or they think their insurance is not going to cover the costs of treatment.


No two people will have the same experience with clinical depression. The symptoms one person experiences will differ from others.
If you experience the following symptoms for more
than two weeks, it’s important to seek medical help:

• Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
• Reduced appetite and/or weight loss
• Increased appetite and weight gain
• Sleeping very little or sleeping too much
• Loss of interests in activities once enjoyed
• Restlessness and/or irritability
• Persistent physical symptoms like a headache or digestive disorders
• Fatigue or energy loss
• Thoughts of death and/or suicide

As a first step, you must speak up and get past the fear and stigma of mental illness, because it is more common than you realize and it can be effectively treated.


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