Program launched to raise awareness of depression among employers

Depression accounts for $44 billion in lost productivity per year

CANTON, Ohio — According to a study published 10 years ago, depression costs $44 billion per year in lost productivity, but a new program is designed to raise awareness about depression in the workforce and its effects on productivity.

The program, Right Direction, is sponsored by the American Psychiatric Foundation and Ohio-based employer coalition Employers Health. The sponsors hope the program — which they are launching Wednesday at the Employers Health 14th Annual Employer Symposium and presenting at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, which starts Saturday — will promote early recognition of symptoms and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-in-10 people have depression, while the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that only one-third of people with diagnosable mental health conditions seek care.

"Employee satisfaction and well-being are strongly linked to business success, which is just one of the many reasons it's important to support those experiencing depression in the workplace," Employers Health director of programs and communications Marcas Miles said. "Right Direction is unique in that it goes beyond telling employers what they should do to actually providing them a step-by-step tool to de-stigmatize depression in the workplace and help employees function better both in and out of work."

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