Posted on: 11-08-2015

 Depression 'one of the biggest mental health issues in the workplace'

Depression may overtake stress as one of the biggest mental health issues in the workplace, new findings showed.

Research published by Canada Life Group revealed that there has been a 40 per cent rise in calls about depression to its employee assistance program (EAP).

The study analyzed more than 22,250 calls to Canada Life. It highlighted a huge increase in depression-related calls in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. Calls about the condition were up by a massive 63 per cent from 2013, with depression now accounting for 31 per cent of the service’s calls about mental-ill-health.

Speaking about the findings, Paul Avis, marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, said: “It is actually very positive news that only one in five of our calls to our EAP is mental health related, showing that our message, that our EAP is a work/life support service rather than a ‘you have to be broken’ counseling service, is getting through.

"More importantly, the number of calls made about depression has shot up by 40 per cent in the past year alone, and with fear of redundancy cited as a significant cause. It is clear that employers need to turn their attention to wider mental health issues, focusing not only on stress but also the effects of depression and anxiety.”

Over half (51 per cent) of users with mental health concerns believed they were coping poorly with their jobs, with this falling to five per cent after the participants received counseling.

The research serves to demonstrate just how important counseling and support is to employees suffering from depression.

It suggests that with the right resources and mechanisms in place, employees may see a reduction in work-related anxiety and depression and therefore have a beneficial impact on a company's absence management policies.


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