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IBI Research Finds Employers Severely Underestimate the Prevalence and Lost Productivity Costs of Depression
Date:5/28/2009

Lost productivity for depression sufferers is a considerable and largely undetected problem

SAN FRANCISCO, May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Employees disabled by depression are away from work significantly longer than other employees on disability leave according to new research by the non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute. The true lost-time costs of these cases -- including disability payments and lost productivity -- are 2-1/2 times the costs of medical care and pharmacy benefits combined; lost productivity is the largest single cost component, making up 60% of these "full costs." In addition, the research finds that twice as many employees develop depression after filing a disability claim, and again lost productivity is the biggest single cost driver of these disabled employees.

But most significantly according to the research, lost productivity is greatest for those employees still at work as more than 80% of all productivity losses for depressed employees are associated with sick leave and presenteeism (employees who are not fully functioning while at work due to ill health).

"Our results show that depression is a case in point for employers wanting to improve the health of their workforce while improving business results: a huge potential for lost productivity, yet not on employers' radar screens from the paid-cost standpoint," said Thomas Parry, PhD, president of IBI. "A short-sighted focus on paid benefits causes employers to underestimate the true impact of depression on the workforce and fail to make appropriate investments in improving workforce mental health. Such an investment, reflecting the full costs of workforce depression, would benefit employers and their employees alike."

The analysis examines the relationship between depression, disability and productivity and presents unanticipated employer costs and significant challenges. The new study comes at a cr
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SOURCE Integrated Benefits Institute
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