ARLINGTON, Va. and CANTON, Ohio, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, and Employers Health, an Ohio-based employer coalition, announced a collaboration to develop a new educational program in the workplace to help decrease stigma associated with depression, which is a leading cause of lost productivity. The depression education program is designed to help motivate employees and their families to seek help when needed, and to provide employers with appropriate support tools and resources. The announcement comes on the 20th anniversary of World Mental Health Day, which seeks to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide and is, this year, focused on depression as a global crisis.
With more than six percent of adults in any one year being diagnosed with depression -- approximately 14.8 million Americans -- and at an annual cost to employers of $44 billion in lost productivity alone, there is a significant need for people with depression in the workforce to understand their condition and receive quality care. Productivity losses with mood disorders like depression are associated with greater levels of absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace compared with other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and hypertension. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, workers with depression report 5.6 hours per week on average more total health-related lost productivity time than those without depression. Additionally, lack of motivation and associated loss in productivity is predominately due to the often overlooked cognitive symptoms associated with depression, including difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness and forgetfulness, which can affect up to 94 percent of all patients.
"Since the recession, some companies are hiring fewer new employees and pushing existing staff to work longer and harder resulting in added stressors and fewer resources in the workplace, which can have a negative impact on the emotional health of employees," said Clare Miller at the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health. "An educational program that focuses on mental health and encourages people who need help to seek out treatment can enable employees to achieve higher levels of success in the workplace."
According to a survey of more than 3,000 employees and their dependents, conducted by the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company, consumers would like more assistance with improving their health and getting the most from their company-provided health and wellness plans. Research illustrates that having mental health coverage does not necessarily translate into utilization of those benefits. To help fill that gap, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health with its expertise in workplace mental health and Employers Health with its depth of experience with employer outreach have joined forces to collaborate in the development and execution of this educational initiative. One main goal of the program will be to address the stigma associated with mental health issues, which is a barrier to early intervention and access to care.
"This program is an opportunity to reach the many employers that have not provided effective education in the area of mental health," said Marcas Miles at Employers Health. "According to a survey reported by Employee Benefit News, less than one quarter of respondents believes that managers in their companies have an overall understanding of the toll mental illness takes on employees and their family members. We are excited to join forces with the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health to design a program that promotes an environment where managers are better educated about depression and have tools and resources to support the emotional wellbeing of their employees."
The depression worksite education program under development will include a human resource toolkit with directions for implementation and rollout, in addition to employee materials to encourage identification of the warning signs of depression.
Support for this educational initiative is being provided jointly by Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., and Lundbeck, two pharmaceutical companies located in Deerfield, IL, that are committed to developing therapies and programs to help people living with mental health conditions. In September 2007, Lundbeck and Takeda formed a strategic alliance for the exclusive co-development and co-commercialization in the United States and Japan of several compounds in Lundbeck's pipeline for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.
About the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health
The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health is a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, a subsidiary of the American Psychiatric Association. The Partnership works with businesses to ensure that employees and their families living with mental illness, including substance use disorders, receive effective care. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health collaborates with employers to advance effective approaches to mental health and promotes the business case for quality mental health care, including early recognition, access to care and effective treatment. The Partnership also identifies and highlights the successful approaches employers are taking to address mental health. For more information, see www.workplacementalhealth.org.
About Employers Health
Founded in 1983 by a group of companies in Ohio, Employers Health Coalition, Inc. (EHC) is a not-for-profit, 501(c) (3) organization that helps plan sponsors control the cost of healthcare. In 1999, Employers Health Purchasing Corporation (EHPC) was incorporated as a subsidiary of the coalition to manage group purchasing programs and government advocacy. Today, these two organizations, collectively known as Employers Health, represent more than 300 member organizations and three million lives. Employers Health is a national coalition of employers working together to improve the cost, quality and accessibility of high-value healthcare services through value-based group purchasing, data analysis and benefits-design consultation, educational programming, community quality initiatives and legislative monitoring and advocacy. For more information see www.ehpco.com.
 The National Institute of Mental Health. The numbers count: Mental Disorders in America Available at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml. Accessed on September 26, 2012.
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SOURCE American Psychiatric Foundation; Employers Health