Study shows cost of rising depression to the workplace

The rising incidence of depression has profound effects in the workplace, according to an Australian study that seeks to build a business case for intervening to prevent and manage the condition.

It demonstrates the process whereby job strain and bullying are related to productivity through their effect on depression, and estimates the costs to employers of depression-related sickness absence. It also examines depression-related productivity loss, which it estimates at A$8 billion per year, most of which is because of mild depression.

The authors estimate that 8.7% of the population is at risk of depression attributable to workplace bullying and job strain, equating to A$693 million in preventable lost productivity per year. “Findings suggest that even sub-clinical levels of depression represent a significant productivity and economic burden not previously recognised,” the authors conclude.

McTernan WP et al (2013). “Depression in the workplace: an economic cost analysis of depression-related productivity loss attributable to job strain and bullying”. Work & Stress; vol.27, issue 4.

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