Extra Depression Care Helps Workers
When Depressed Employees Get Better, the Bottom Line May Benefit, Too
Sept. 25, 2007 -- Depressed workers may feel better and accomplish more at
work if they get a little extra help in addition to standard depression
That news appears in The Journal of the American Association.
Many employers may "experience a positive return on investment from
outreach and enhanced treatment of depressed workers," write the
They included Philip Wang, MD, DrPH, of the National Institute of Mental
Wang's team contacted thousands of employees at 16 large companies,
including workers in the airline, insurance, banking, public utility, and
manufacturing fields, as well as state government workers.
Interested employees completed surveys about their depression symptoms.
Based on the results, the researchers focused on 604 depressed employees.
All of those depressed workers were eligible to get standard depression
treatment. Roughly half also got a depression workbook and phone calls from
The counselors offered support and checked on the patients' progress,
especially for depressed workers who refused to get in-person therapy.
Over the next year, the workers contacted by the phone counselors reported
more improvement in their depression symptoms.
They also worked about two hours more per week than the other depressed
workers and tended to keep their jobs.
Wang and colleagues call for further studies to see if the findings apply to
other groups of workers, including people in blue-collar jobs.
(Do you think you would benefit if your employer offered this service?
Talk about it on WebMD's Depression:
Support Group message board.)