Study finds that treatment of depression can increase work productivity

January 11, 2012 - (Toronto) - A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has found that employees with depression who receive treatment while still working are significantly more likely to be highly productive than those who do not. This is the first study of its kind to look into a possible correlation between treatment and productivity.

The study is particularly significant at a time when the Canadian economy continues to face uncertainty. costs the Canadian economy an estimated $51 billion annually, with a third of that attributed to productivity losses.

Published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, the study examined data from a large-scale community survey of employed and recently employed people in Alberta.

People who experienced a were significantly less likely to be highly productive, the study showed. "We expected this, as past research has found that has on comprehension, social participation, and day-to-day-functioning," said Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of CAMH's Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health and lead author.

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

Of the 3,000 workers in the in the sample, 8.5 per cent experienced a depressive episode, representing 255 workers.

Though the results showed the effectiveness of treatment on work and performance, the data also showed a troubling trend. "We found that among all who had been diagnosed with a severe depressive episode, 57 per cent did not receive treatment; 40 per cent of those who experienced a moderate depressive episode did not receive treatment," said Dr. 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. If people are able to receive treatment early, disability leave, which costs companies $18,000 per leave, may be avoided."

"Stigma and discrimination have often affected people's willingness to access to services, as has the lack of knowledge around supports available in the workplace," added Dr. Dewa. "It is crucial that employers offer mental health interventions to their employees and support them in engaging in treatment, as well as continuing to support them as they transition back into the workplace."

The data for this analysis was collected by the Institute for Health Economics, Alberta.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Online illusion: Unplugged, we really aren't that smart

date 5 hours ago

The Internet brings the world to our fingertips, but it turns out that getting information online also has a startling effect on our brains: We feel a lot smarter than we really are, according to a Yale-led study published ...

People in MTV docusoaps are more ideal than real

date 5 hours ago

More midriff, cleavage and muscle is seen in MTV's popular television docusoaps such as The Real World, Jersey Shore or Laguna Beach than in the average American household. Semi-naked brawny Adonises and even more scantily ...

Score! Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

date 5 hours ago

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown University study provides gamers with some ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.