Economic Impact of Depression



Happy workers make healthier—and more profitable-—employees. According to the new working paper “The Effects of Depression on Labor Market Outcomes,” depression increases annual work loss days by about 33%. In the United States alone, this amounts to productivity losses of between $700 million and $1.4 billion per year—a number that quickly climbs when looking at the overall cost of depression. “Beyond employees who personally suffer from depression, there’s time lost to care for loved ones,” said study co-author Sam Zuvekas, a researcher at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “There are a lot of familial and societal-wide impacts when you start totaling up these costs, and estimates get into the tens of billions of dollars.” But there is plenty of room for employers to help. According to Zuvekas, “The biggest thing employers can do is related to health insurance coverage. If employees have to pay a lot out of pocket, there is evidence they may be deterred from using mental health treatment.” Medical policies that incorporate mental health coverage can reduce the impact of depression on both employees and businesses by improving productivity and reducing absenteeism and workplace conflict.

Hilary Tuttle

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About the Author

Hilary Tuttle is senior editor of Risk Management.



  • Olivia Cook

    I needed to comprehend better the turns and turns of our economies, I supposed it might be useful to peep into the history and get an impression of how things functioned out in the incredible depression.

  • Kongkona

    Thank you.

  • A large portion of us know somebody who has experienced depression.Yet the proceeding with stigma connected with mental health issues in numerous parts of the world, and also contending priorities in others,imply that the scale of the issue and its effect regularly lie just beneath the surface.While the world remains riven by multiple violent conflicts and other health concerns,including the Ebola crisis,high rates of depression keep on putting developing pressure on workplaces and government health budgets far and wide.

    @Marion Taylor.


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