There has been an increasing focus to change work cultures to ensue that employees are getting enough rest and relaxation to avoid mental illness and its devastating consequences on productivity.
The approach seems an acceptable one in view of the results published by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that highlights the impact of anxiety and depressive disorders on workplace performance and profits. It points to employer-guaranteed specialized psychiatric care as both cost effective and humane.
According to the report, employees with anxiety and depressive disorders work fewer hours, are more likely to end up on disability, and are less productive than their counterpart employees. Further, anxiety or depression can aggravate other medical conditions and most importantly creates a low morale among coworkers.
Depression and anxiety in the workplace also account for an enormous expense to employers in terms of health care costs and productivity. Anxiety and depressive disorders, which often go hand in hand, create tremendous social and economic burdens on our society.
Evidence shows that one in every 20 Americans will be depressed in a given year and that major depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the year 2020.
Although a majority of such disorders exist, most cases go undiagnosed and untreated, so the true economic and sociological damage caused by these disorders is unknown although, the economic cost is conservatively estimated to be billions of dollars a year in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
Such costs include not only direct health care costs, but also "indirect" costs stemming from suicide, increased medical morbidity, reduced adherence to outpatient treatment leading to relapse and hospitalization, lost wages caused by missed work, and decreased workplace productivity.
Studies are showing that if you start with a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and create a treatment plan that might then involve psychologists, primary care and/or social work, employees will have less disability, greater work productivity and improved quality of life compared with those who received evaluation and treatment solely by a primary care provider.
In response, there has been increased support for regulation of the number of hours worked by employees in demanding jobs such as doctors, nurses, pilots, drivers etc. The quality treatment might be more expensive in the short term, but the long-term benefits clearly outweigh the initial treatment costs.