Human Resources News & Insights

This ‘silent’ health condition could be costing you thousands

What plagues between 10% and 20% of employees and costs roughly $62,000 per 100 employees every year?  

It’s depression, according to the latest analysis from the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a workplace health and productivity research organization.

With all of the other health problems employers and their wellness administrators are worried about controlling within their workforces, it’s easy to see how depression could be overlooked — but that could prove to be a very costly oversight.

Here’s how IBI calculated that $62K figure:

  • Presenteeism ($31,000)
  • Sick days ($19,000)
  • Medical treatments ($9,000)
  • Short-term disability claims ($2,000), and
  • Long-term disability claims ($1,000).

On top of all that, one-third of those suffering from depression receive treatment for it at an average annual cost of $2,000.

IBI’s research also found that one of the main reasons depression is so damaging — and costly — is that it tends to induce or complicate other health problems, including:

  • Anxiety (48% of employees with depression suffer from anxiety)
  • Chronic fatigue (46%)
  • Chronic pain in the back or neck (32%)
  • Obesity (29%), and
  • Chronic sleep disorders (26%).

“Employers can benefit from understanding the extent of depression in their workforces and helping employees prevent, treat and manage their mental health,” said IBI President Thomas Parry in a recent press release.

How can employers help?

Here are the top two ways IBI says employers can help workers suffering from — or at risk of suffering from — depression find the resources they need to improve their mental well-being:

  1. Provide access to an employee assistance program (EAP), and
  2. Deploy a mental health screening tool, like a health questionnaire that employees can complete and discuss with their physicians.

Info: The IBI’s report on depression was part of a research series meant to outline the prevalence, costs, co-morbidities and top intervention approaches for major chronic health conditions.

This post originally ran on our sister website HRBenefitsAlert.com

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