Depression in the workplace is the huge $4.3 billion pink elephant sitting next to you that nobody wants to acknowledge.  Those who live with it still suffer substantial stigma as illustrated below from the research of 271 Australians by Ultrafeedback for the book “Back from the Brink”.

Question High or Very High
How much impact does the stigma associated with depression have on you personally 65%

To understand where that stigma was experienced, we asked the question:

How comfortable are you discussing your depression with the following people? Comfortable or Very Comfortable
Your GP 62%
Your Partner 51%
Your Close Friends 40%
Your Family 28%
Work Colleagues 9%

The World Health Organisation has predicted that depression will be the greatest health issue facing the West yet those that live with depression are scared to discuss it because of the stigma and the belief it will affect their career prospects.  This must change.

A research project by the University of Queensland found that the cost of untreated depression for the general working population was $10,000 per person whilst a senior executive or professional costs $25,000.

This U of Q study found that the total cost of depression in the workplace was $4.3 billion or $647 dollars for every employee in the Australian workforce. These costs are considered very conservative and do not include Workcover /insurance claims, part time or casual employees, retrenchment, recruitment, retraining etc.

This study also showed that every dollar spent identifying and case managing employees with mental health issues early, yielded a 500% return in improved productivity. An ANU study of mid level managers showed that when there was high job strain (high workload plus lack of control) along with job insecurity the rate of depression increased 14 fold and anxiety 13 fold.

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