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Two in Five People Miss Work Due to Depression

Update Date: Nov 13, 2014 11:14 AM EST

Depression forces nearly 40 percent of the workforce to miss at least 10 days of work every year, a new study claims.

An audit of the impact of depression on work showed that 64 percent of those surveyed experienced cognitive challenges that lowered productivity including Presenteeism, being at work but disengaged. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in 10 Americans will suffer depressive illness.

Though depression was common, participants in the audit said they could not inform their employers, apprehending job loss.

"The survey provides evidence surrounding the detrimental impact of depression on the U.S. workforce and the associated stigma of the disease. The results demonstrate the vital need for employers to provide support and resources in the workplace for those suffering from this debilitating disease," said Brian Klepper, chief executive officer of the National Business Coalition on Health where the results of the audit were presented recently, in a press release.

The audit estimates that depression cost employers $ 100 billion annually including loss productivity amounting to $ 40 billion.

"Additionally, mental illness short-term disability claims are growing by 10 percent annually. Unfortunately, this prevalence and unmet need does not currently translate into help for people with depression, as more than 35 percent of managers reported receiving no formal support or resources to guide their employees," researchers wrote.

However the research pointed out that employers stand to gain if they supported their employees. For every dollar lost, productivity gains earned employers three dollars.

"We designed an initiative called Right Direction to specifically cater to the needs of employers, in order to ensure this resource is as helpful and easy to execute as possible. The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness and reduce stigma around depression in order to provide a more productive workplace and supportive company culture," said Marcas Miles, senior director of marketing and communications with Employers Health Coalition. 

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