About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Depression, Meds and the Workplace

The biggest health news of the week: A new study showing that anti-depressant medications--the popular ones like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil--help only the severely depressed. Those with moderate depression are no more likely to get relief from pills than those who take a placebo.

Other studies have been suggesting this for some time.

What does this mean for HR and wellness staff?

First, depression is very costly in the workplace. According to the Mental Health America,
Clinical depression has become one of America's most costly illnesses. Left untreated, depression is as costly as heart disease or AIDS to the US economy, costing over $43.7 billion in absenteeism from work (over 200 million days lost from work each year), lost productivity and direct treatment costs. Depression tends to affect people in their prime working years and may last a lifetime if untreated. More than 80 percent of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated. With early recognition, intervention, and support, most employees can overcome clinical depression and pick up where they left off.

Aside from drugs, two well-known treatments--counseling and exercise--have been shown to help provide relief for people with mild-to-moderate depression.

This suggests the importance of company health insurance plans including generous reimbursement for psychological services--and of wellness programs that offer exercise options to workers.

No comments: