Research conducted by Towers Watson, a US-based professional services company shows that Canada spends about $50-B a year due to lost productivity and in part, to compensate workers who are affected by mental health issues. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental health problems, including depression, account for about 30% of short‐term and long‐term disability claims.
In fact, in 2011, depression was found to be the leading cause of claims for disability in Canada.
The impact of depression is significant as shown by an 11% reduction in a worker's productivity after a major depressive episode. The latest national survey conducted this year shows that more than 60% of managers have supervised employees who were able to remain working while others have supervised workers who returned to work after taking a leave of absence for depression. Both employees and managers signified that the workers' concentration, memory and ability to make decisions were affected by their condition. Other symptoms of depression include loss of energy, depressed mood, weight loss or weight gain, sleep loss, excessive daytime sleepiness, and suicidal thoughts.
It is difficult, however, to define what consists of workplace depression, since according to Dr. Karen Cohen, who is the CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association, there is no specific clinical diagnosis for such condition. Depression is a mental health condition that is influenced by many factors, including biological and social factors. Office life may consist of many stress factors, including a hostile environment and poor leadership, but one may also unable to balance life and work in general.
Dr. Carolyn Dewa, researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, notes that workplace depression became an area of concern in the early 90s, when employers and insurance companies began to notice an increase in disability claims due to stress. However, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety president and CEO Steve Horvath...