A new initiative to help HR professionals tackle the devastating effects of workplace depression
Business leaders share new insights on workplace depression
Our new report outlines the challenges some organisations face in managing depression in the workplace. ‘Depression in the Workplace in Europe: A report featuring new insights from business leaders’ also shares examples of progressive steps taken by employers to tackle depression and maintain a healthy working environment. It also highlights the importance of creating a ‘new openness’ about mental health and especially depression in the workplace.
“Cognition is the ignition of productivity and innovation in the global brain-based economy. And depression attacks that vital asset.” Bill Wilkerson, Chair, HR Leadership Forum to Target Depression in the Workplace
It’s time to act!
The Business Leadership Forum to Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace is guided by senior HR and corporate health and medical executives from major European employers alongside international organisations working on health, labour and employment issues. Together the Forum will recommend concrete tools and resources that will enable HR professionals:
Better manage depression in the workplace
Identify and support employees at risk of depression
Promote good workplace mental health
Today’s global economy puts a premium on cerebral, or brain, skills. Depression attacks cognition, for example the ability to make decisions, remember things and concentrate. Workers experience cognitive symptoms up to 94% of the time during an episode of depression, affecting quality of life and the ability to function professionally and socially.1
Depression presents a significant burden on the workplace:
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting 350 million people2
Depression disproportionally affects adults of working age, significantly impacting businesses3
One in 10 workers has taken time off due to depression4
Employees with depression report on average 5.6 hours per week of lost time, reducing productive capacity5
The cost of depression in lost productivity alone in Europe is estimated at £77 billion annually6
Almost 60% of this is related to indirect costs such as absenteeism and presenteeism (attending work whilst unwell)6
More than half of patients remain symptomatic following first antidepressant treatment and remission rates are progressively lower for each successive treatment step7
One in three managers say they do not have formal support to help employees with depression4
One in 10 managers confronted with an employee with depression say they didn’t know how to react4
A recent report from the London School of Economics highlighted that flexible working and time off is not the best approach to support employees with depression, and that managers should offer direct help to employees8
HR executives and employers must play an informed leadership, facilitation, advisory and advocacy role to support employees with depression
It’s time to act.
1 Conradi HJ et al. Psychol Med 2011; 41: 1165-1174.
2 Depression Factsheet. WHO http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/. Last accessed March 2014
3 World Health Organization. The global burden of disease. Available at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GBD_report_2004update_full.pdf. Last update 2004.
4 IDEA: Impact of Depression at Work in Europe Audit Final report. Ipsos Healthcare. October 2012
5 Stewart WF et al. JAMA, 2003, 289 (23): 3135 – 3144.
6 Olesen J et al. Eur J Neurol 2012; 19: 155-162.
7 Rush AJ et al. Am J Psychiatry 2006; 163(11):1905-17.
8 Evans-Lacko S, Knapp M. Importance of Social and Cultural Factors for Attitudes, Disclosure and Time off Work for Depression: Findings from a Seven Country European Study on Depression in the Workplace. PLOS One. 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091053 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0091053
The Business Leadership Forum’s advisory group is chaired by Bill Wilkerson, Executive Chair of Mental Health International. John Duncan, former Group Head of HR at Royal Mail and an experienced HR practitioner is Vice-Chair. The advisory group comprises senior human resource (HR) and corporate health leaders from some of the largest businesses in Europe.
The International Labour Organization (www.ilo.org) is also represented on the Forum’s Advisory Group
Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace is sponsored, but not owned by H. Lundbeck A/S. Target Depression in the Workplace is owned by Mental Health International.
Secretariat services are provided by Ogilvy HealthPR
“Mental health is the dominant workplace health issue of our time. Work can either be beneficial or harmful to mental health and employers can make a major contribution to the wellbeing of society by their actions.” Dr Paul Litchfield BT Group Chief Medical Officer and Director Wellbeing, Inclusion, Safety & Health
Personnel Today recently published a great article on the ‘Target’ initiative featuring comment from our own advisory group members Andreas Tautz (DPDHL), Julia Ingall (Ogilvy & Mather) and Mark McLane (Barclays). You can read the article in full here.
On 9 October, business leaders from across Europe met to launch a Business Charter that aims to prevent the disabling effects of depression among employees and reduce the burden of depression on employers.
One of Target’s advisory group members, Dr Andreas Tautz of Deutsche Post DHL, presented a best practice example at the XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work which took place in Germany last month.