Stat of the day: Depression in the workplace

By Angela Matthews

It’s all about mental health today – a bit of depression and some more stress.

Depression

Some of you may be aware of the Target Depression in the Workplace group. For those – like me – who didn’t know about this, the group includes Royal Mail, Barclays and BT and is a European task force looking at tackling depression in the workplace.

Some of the stats I’ve seen regarding this task force include:

  • Symptoms of disrupted concentration, indecisiveness, or forgetfulness were present up to 94 per cent of the time during each episode of depression;
  • 1 in 10 employees in Europe are at risk of taking time off for reasons related to depression. This will equate to a loss of some 1 billion working days in time and more than £34.6 million in cost.

The companies involved in this task force are reported to employ a combined population of 600,000 across Europe. In June, the Office for National Statistics released a figure that said 19 per cent of adults experience depression. If we apply the 19 per cent to the 600,000, there are potentially 114,000 employees in these combined workforces who could be experiencing depression.

Stress

In addition to the two other stress surveys we have recently looked at in ‘Stat of the day’, Bupa have also conducted one of their own. Some slightly different topics emerge from Bupa’s – for example, they report that men are more likely to deal with their stress with alcohol and women are more likely to try breathing exercises or some form of mindfulness. A few stats from the survey include:

  • 44 per cent of the British population experience stress.
  • 27 per cent regularly feel “close to breaking point”.
  • 61 per cent only seek help when they feel they can no longer cope.

That last figure is a bit concerning.

As this is the third recent ‘Stat of the day’ about stress, tomorrow’s will make a desperate attempt to break free from mental health topics. I try and use stats that relate to something that is ‘current’ in our work or in society generally; so perhaps ‘Stat of the day’s recent concentration on mental health speaks for itself regarding its general current interest in the press and among our Members/Partners. But I promise (I think), something different tomorrow.

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