Sunday, May 11, 2008

HRinfodesk: Depression in the workplace

By Christina Catenacci LL.B., Assistant Editor and Yosie Saint-Cyr Managing Editor for HRinfodesk - Canadian Payroll and Employment Law News,

Statistics Canada recently published a report based on a study of the impact of depression on work impairment in terms of reduced work activities, mental health disability days, and work absences. The study indicates that approximately 489,000 Canadians aged 25 to 64 employed in 2002 (3.7% of workers) had experienced an episode of major depression in the previous 12 months. Also, about one million additional workers (8% of workers) had experienced depression some time in their lives, but not in the past 12 months.

This concurs with what mental health experts are indicating: that depression has become one of most common illnesses. However, it is still one of the most misunderstood. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, nearly three million Canadians will experience depression at one point in their lives. Most often, it affects people in their working years, between the ages of 24 and 44. However, depression can affect men and women of any age, education, economic or social status.

The Canadian Mental Health Association further states that depression touches everyone, from friends and family to co-workers. While at any one time 1 in 20 employees can experience depression, if it's left undetected, depression can lead to decreased productivity and increased sick days. Employers must gain a better understanding and recognition of the nature, scope and signs of this debilitating illness in their workplaces.

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