Depressed employees who receive treatment while at work likely to be more productive than those who do not, a new study finds.
The study, by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), examined data from a large-scale community survey of employed and recently employed people in Alberta, Canada.
People who experienced a depressive episode were significantly less likely to be highly productive, the study showed.
"We expected this, as past research has found that depression has adverse effects on comprehension, social participation, and day-to-day-functioning," said Dr Carolyn Dewa, head of CAMH's Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health and lead author of the study.
"What's exciting is we found that treatment for depression improves work productivity. People who had experienced a moderate depressive episode and received treatment were 2.5 times more likely to be highly productive compared with those who had no treatment
"Likewise, people who experienced severe depression were seven times more likely to be high-performing than those who had no treatment," she said.
Of the 3,000 workers in the sample, 8.5 per cent experienced a depressive episode, representing 255 workers.
Though the results showed the effectiveness of treatment on work and performance, the data also showed a troubling trend - many of those suffering from depression did not seek treatment.
"We found that among all study participants who had been diagnosed with a severe depressive episode, 57 per cent did not receive treatment; 40 per cent of those who experienced a moderate depressive episode did not receive treatment," Dr. Dewa said.
"Stigma and discrimination have often affected people's willingness to access to services, as has the lack of knowledge around supports available in the workplace," she added.
The study was published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.