European Business Leaders Join Together to Prevent a Potential one Billion Working Days Lost due to Depression

  European Business Leaders Join Together to Prevent a Potential one Billion
                     Working Days Lost due to Depression

  PR Newswire

  LONDON, October 10, 2013

LONDON, October 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  *Senior executives from some of the largest employers across Europe are
    spearheading a programme to 'Target Depression in the Workplace'
  *More than 34.6 million employees in the European Union could be at risk of
    taking time off work due to depression and its cognitive symptoms, with a
    potential loss of one billion working days
  *The Target Depression in the Workplace initiative aims to recommend
    concrete tools and resources that will enable company executives to better
    identify and support employees with depression as well as promote good
    mental health in the workplace

A group of major European employers today launch a drive to combat the impact
depression and its cognitive symptoms have in the workplace. One in 10
employees in Europe take time off work due to depression, which equates to
more than 34 million people at risk of missing work in Europe.This is the
first time senior European executives have come together to assess and address
depression in the workplace.

"The catastrophic impact depression can have on the individual and their
family is well acknowledged, but largely unresolved is the impact depression
has on work," said Professor Martin Knapp, Professor of Social Policy and
Co-Director of LSE Health and Social Care. "New research has shown that an
average of 36 days is taken off work per episode of depression. Across the
European working population this could mean something approaching 1 billion
working days lost to depression. The economic impact is potentially enormous,
and this does not take into consideration the reduced productivity of people
who keep on working while they are depressed."

Depression, the leading cause of disability worldwide, has a direct impact on
company profit due to presenteeism (attending work whilst ill) and absenteeism
(taking time off work). The cognitive symptoms of depression - concentration
difficulties, indecisiveness, and/or forgetfulness - are present up to 94% of
the time in an episode of depression and cause significant impairment in work
function. People with depression report on average 5.6 hours per week of total
health-related lost productivity time more than those without depression.

Some of the largest employers in Europe, including Royal Mail Group Ltd, BT
Group plc, Barclays, Unilever and Deutsche Post DHL, that collectively employ
over 600,000 people in Europe and generate revenues of almost €200 billion
annually, have formed a Steering Committee with the aim to come up with
concrete action to help other businesses reduce the impact of depression.

"Mental health is the dominant workplace health issue of our time. Work can
either be beneficial or harmful to mental health and employers can make a
major contribution to the wellbeing of society by their actions," said Dr Paul
Litchfield, BT Group plc Chief Medical Officer and Target Depression in the
Workplace Steering Committee Advisor. "Combatting depression has been a
priority for BT for many years and is an integral part of ourMental Health
Framework which has delivered significant business benefits as well as helping
very many of our people. Through the Target Depression in the Workplace
initiative, we are looking forward to working with other employers to drive
best practice to a higher level and to disseminate it as widely as possible."

Target Depression in the Workplace is chaired by Mr Bill Wilkerson, Executive
Chairman Mental Health International. Vice Chair is John Duncan, Group HR
Director at Royal Mail Group Ltd.

Laura Clewes, OgilvyHealthPR,

Email: laura.clewes@ogilvy.com , Tel: +44-(0)207-108 6078/ Mob:
+44-776-021-2600
 
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