Depression in the Workplace: Epidemiology, Economics and Effects of Treatment
James M. Russell
Andrew M. Baker
Depression is a common, serious illness that affects millions of individuals, most often in their prime years of productivity. There is strong evidence that depression is as debilitating as most other general medical conditions and results in increased general medical resource utilisation. The economic costs of depression are extremely high. The total cost of depression in the US in 1990 was estimated to be $US53 billion. Of this amount, $US33 billion was estimated to be directly related to the loss of productivity in the workplace. Well-controlled clinical studies have demonstrated that depression can be effectively treated with antidepressant medications. In addition to symptom reduction, these same studies have demonstrated that productivity at work also improves. The economic benefits from this increased productivity far outweigh the cost of appropriately diagnosing and treating depression.
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