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Treatment for depression increases work productivity

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Employees with depression who receive treatment while still working are much more likely to be productive than those who do not. This unique study is the first of its kind to look at the relationship between treatment and work productivity.

Mental illness costs in Canada, the site of the study, are estimated at $51 billion annually. A third of that number is attributed to productivity loss. With the Canadian economy stressed, these numbers are significant.

This study showed that people who are depressed are not productive. “We expected this, as past research has found that depression has adverse effects on comprehension, social participation, and day-to-day functioning,” said Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health and the lead author of the study.

“What’s exciting is we found that treatment for depression improves work productivity. People who had experienced a moderate depressive episode and received treatment were 2.5 times likely to be highly productive compared with those who had no treatment,” she said. “Likewise, people who experienced severe depression were seven times more likely to be high-preforming than those who had no treatment.”

The data did reveal a troubling trend. “We found that among all study participants who had been diagnosed with a severe depressive episode, 57% did not receive treatment; 40% of those who experienced a moderate depressive episode did not receive treatment,” said Dewa. “When we look at the success of workers in the sample who received treatment while still in the workplace, it really speaks to the importance of prevention and the need for employers to facilitate treatment and support.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

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