Depression and the Workplace

Depression is a disease that can be caused by genetics, a history or trauma, or coexisting medical or psychiatric disorders. Depression limits one's ability to be happy or cope with many areas of one's life.

When left untreated, depression costs America billions of dollars per year in lost productivity. At work, depression can limit one's capacity to perform at optimal levels, contributes to lost days of work, and affects morale and relationships between workers.

Further, left untreated, depression can lead to substance abuse (alcohol or other drugs) which adversely affect the workplace in terms of productivity and safety.

If a family member suffers from depression, it can also create a domino effect for the workplaces of relatives as it contributes to lost work and productivity.

There is help for employees who suffer from depression as well as for their families.

In addition to employer-sponsored health plans (some provide mental health benefits), many employers today offer employee assistance programs where trained professionals are able to assist with the assessment of employee personal problems. They often will refer cases warranting treatment to an appropriate resource such as counseling to address the concerns. Such programs are confidential and free to employees.

If you don't know where to turn, ask a human resources representative for assistance.


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