Staff returning to work after illness at risk of depression

Employees returning to work following absence related to a physical condition such as back pain, cancer or heart disease are at greater risk of mild to moderate depression. However, those who do become depressed often worry about the impact of telling their employers, the charity the Mental Health Foundation has said.

A study carried out by academics at Loughborough University found almost half of employees with a physical condition experienced mild to moderate depression on their return to work, but were more worried about telling their employer about this.

While most line managers were initially supportive when a person returned to the workplace, they were often unaware of the long-term effects a serious physical illness or condition can have on an employee’s mental health and their ability to work.

There was also a consistent lack of follow-up by occupational health, line managers and human resources on employees’ general health and psychological wellbeing after returning to work, it concluded.

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