Depression Plagues European Workers
October 1, 2012

1 In 10 Take Time Off Due To Depression In Europe

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

A new survey has found that one in 10 working people in Europe have taken time off due to depression.

A survey from the European Depression Association found that over 21,000 days of work have been missed due to depression.

Nearly one in three managers reported they had no formal support or resources to deal with employees who feel depressed, and 43 percent of them called for better policies and legislation to protect their employees.

"Depression in the workplace is an employment and societal challenge that is causing serious damage and which requires attention and action from the European Union," MEP Stephen Hughes said.

He said including depression in the workplace as part of the New European Commission Strategy for Health and Safety at Work would present excellent progress towards protecting Europe's workers.

Over 30 million European citizens will suffer from depression at some point in their life, according to a survey by Impact of Depression in the Workplace in Europe Audit (IDEA).

The survey polled over 7,000 people in Europe and found that 20 percent received a diagnosis of depression at some point. The highest rate of depression was seen in Great Britain at 26 percent, while the lowest was in Italy at 12 percent.

Sixty-one percent of workers in Germany have experienced some depression, according to the survey. IDEA also said that 60 percent of workers in Denmark, and 58 percent of workers in Great Britain experienced depression before.

Those who were least likely to take time off work due to the mental state were in Turkey, with only 25 percent of the working respondents in the country admitting to feeling depressed at some point.

Depression cost over $116 billion in 2010 in the European Union, with the lost productivity due to taking time off work and being present at work while ill costing 50 percent of that.

In the IDEA survey, the average number of days taken off work during the last episode of depression was 36 days, with Germany and Great Britain having a high of 41 days and Italy at the lowest with 23 days .

One in four of those experiencing depression said they did not tell their employer about their problem, according to the surveys. One in three of these said they would put their job at risk in the current economy state.

Germany showed the highest lack of support among managers surveyed, with 44 percent, compared to Turkey with the lowest at 10 percent.

Managers in Great Britain said they were most likely going to their HR department for support, while those in Turkey said they were most likely going to medical professionals.

Managers cited counseling services and better government legislation and policies as the most important things to help support employees experiencing depression.

"The results of the IDEA survey show that much needs to be done in raising awareness and supporting employees and employers in recognizing and managing depression in the workplace," Dr Vincenzo Costigliola, President of the European Depression Association, said. "We ask policymakers to consider the impact of depression on the workforce and charge them with addressing depression and workers and workplace safety."