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Treating depressed employees cuts costs

January 28, 2005
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Comprehensive treatment for depression may reduce absenteeism and improve productivity, according to a new study.

In the study, 326 full- or part-time workers who were diagnosed with depression were treated with either standard treatment or “enhanced treatment,” defined as a combination of counseling, medication, coaching and constant contact and program modifications as needed. The enhanced-care group increased productivity by 6.1 percent over two years, for a cost savings of $1,982 per year for each consistently employed depressed worker, reports Absenteeism was also reduced by 28.4 percent, a $619 per-worker yearly savings.

Experts estimate that about nine percent of the U.S. population is affected by depression. Employers pay a toll in lost productivity, absenteeism and healthcare costs. Employee wellness programs can offer support and encourage people to seek treatment, which helps them and the company at the same time, says Rainer Guttkuhn of Circadian Technologies.

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