Investing in Workplace Depression Treatment

April 11, 2008
New studies released by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) call for an integrated approach that incorporates clinical, community and workplace programs to better manage depression in the workplace.

Of the more than 6 percent of the workforce struggling with depression, only half receive treatment, and even fewer receive care consistent with current treatment guidelines, the research revealed. Depression is linked to increased unemployment and absenteeism, decreased productivity, disrupted work organization and increased health care and disability costs.

According to the ACOEM studies, employers may be able to influence the treatment and recovery of workers suffering from depression.

“An expanded role for employers and occupational health professionals in the management of depression and other chronic diseases is seen as fundamental to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce,” wrote Dr. Garson M. Caruso and Dr. T. Larry Myette, co-directors of the ACOEM Depression in the Workplace Project.

Treatment through Collaboration

The research discusses several promising approaches to help prevent or lessen the severity of depression, including programs to improve coping and stress management skills, identifying at-risk employees and promoting early treatment.

Researchers stressed that new “collaborative care” approaches may improve depression treatment outcomes by integrating community, workplace and clinical treatment options. This intensive approach bears higher initial costs, but ultimately make good business sense because more effective treatment leads to better productivity and employee retention.

Enhanced depression care programs, the studies show, should be viewed not as an added cost, but as a “human capital investment opportunity.”

Fifteen papers addressing workplace depression will be published in a special issue of ACOEM’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and will be presented April 16 during the American Occupational Health Conference. For more information on the conference, visit

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Work Safety Tips: 5 Tactics to Build Employee Engagement for Workplace Safety

March 13, 2024
Employee safety engagement strategies have become increasingly key to fostering a safer workplace environment. But, how exactly do you encourage employee buy-in when it comes ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!