Depression in the Workplace

Depression is a major personal issue for anyone who experiences it—but for many people, it’s also a problem in the workplace. It’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of the workforce suffers from depression or depression related illnesses and costs our economy $44 billion each year in lost productivity. Most of that cost is in “presenteeism,” when employees show up for work but, because they are suffering from a depressive disorder, are unable to function. Such people may miss deadlines or meetings, fail to return phone calls or emails, or produce poor quality or low-volume work. In such cases, treatment can return these people to good health and to a productive work life.

The University of Louisville Depression Center provides evaluations and treatment which are primarily focused on depression in the workplace, but also on other illnesses, such as anxiety, psychosis, substance use disorders, and psychiatric effects of injuries (“accidents”). We believe that the term “impairment” is a better description of the problem of workplace depression than “disability.” It is the illness that is blocking the person from productivity, and with proper treatment, the ability to work effectively will return.

Adapted with permission from the University of Michigan Depression Center Web site.