Health Team

Study: Enhanced Treatment Helps Depression More

Posted September 25, 2007

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— People who suffer from depression often have trouble at work. Researchers wanted to know how it would affect productivity if those people could be identified, diagnosed and treated.

What if employers offered depressed employees access to a different kind of depression care?

“We took this study on to see whether, if you enhance the care of depression, whether you can actually improve not only people's depressive symptoms, but also their lost work productivity,” said Dr. Philip Wang, of the National Institute of Mental Health,

Researchers screened workers at 16 national companies for depression.

Of those found to be depressed, half were sent to an enhanced depression-care program, with a care manager available by phone. They had the option of in-person psychotherapy.

The other half got the usual care, meaning they were advised to seek depression treatment on their own.

The results are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The group that was given the enhanced depression care was 40 percent more likely to recover from depression at the end of the 12-month period,” Wang said. “They were also 70 percent more likely to still be working.”

Those in the enhanced-care group worked, on average, two more hours per week than people in the "usual care" group, the researchers found.

The researchers said they understood that some employers might look at this kind of health-care benefit as a cost they'll never recover. However, Wang said, “Our results suggest that health-care benefits are actually an investment opportunity for employers and a way to improve their bottom line.”

Most people in the enhanced-care group chose telephone counseling over in-person treatment. The study’s authors say this program could save employers money down the road.


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  • jeebk04 Sep 27, 2007

    What do they mean by "enhanced". The article doesn't explain exactly what the tx is, unless I missed it.

  • jeebk04 Sep 27, 2007

    sceeter, depression is a chemical imbalance. The environment can AFFECT it, but it is a medical disorder.

  • jimmy boy Sep 27, 2007

    It went something like this. “Sorry you have been depressed lately but we have to let you go” They were more worried about themselves instead of there employees. O they did have this fancy wallet card with information on it to call if you wanted to spend some money talking to someone. And being that I was a union shop you would have thought the union would have came to my defense. They were worthless, never received a phone call or nothing. Over 20 years with a company and they didn’t want to know what was going on, just an excuse to get rid of people. Being loyal means nothing these days.

  • 3forme Sep 26, 2007

    just left a job for that reason...most times companies turn a blind eye to employee depression...especially when it involves more senior employees...someone needs to wake up...

  • davidgnews Sep 25, 2007

    Pie in the sky.

    I worked under an administrator that had the attitude, 'if they're unhappy, let them leave...'

    Most employers don't (want to) understand the mechanics of morale.

  • sceeter Sep 25, 2007

    considering massive job outsourcing to other countries and job layoffs by large companies - I seriously doubt employers will embrace a depression program for their employees. most employers look at employees in lower level positions particularly as dispensible. That is, they can let go of someone more freely and save the money spent on that someone.

    Perhaps, if companies paid more, kept jobs in this country thereby giving job security, and treated their employees as valuable contributions instead of replaceable - employees wouldn't become so depressed.

  • mrtwinturbo Sep 25, 2007

    What if employers offered depressed employees access to a different kind of depression care?

    What if they just paid them a little more? Maybe that is why they are depressed?