What is Workplace Wellness? Cartoons & Stats 5 Random Wellness Stats Glossary

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Depression, Mental Health Issues, and Coworker Conflict Costs.

4% of Canadian workers have experienced a bout of depression in the past year and 8% more have previously had an occurrence of depression (prior to the past year)

One in five Canadians will experience some form of mental health issue
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Workers with chronic conditions or alcohol or drug dependence (past 12 months) or anxiety disorders (past 12 months and lifetime) were more likely than those who did not have these problems to report that they had had a depressive episode in the previous year. Excess weight, however, was not associated with depression among workers.

Depression turns out to be more common in white collar jobs than in any other sector. "Men in high strain jobs were 2.5 times more likely than their counterparts in low strain jobs to have experienced depression; women were 1.6 times more likely. Low support from co-workers was associated with a higher prevalence of depression for each sex. Low supervisor support was associated with depression among women."

Part-time workers (those working less than 30 hours a week) were more likely to report having had a depressive incident in the past year, though it is unclear whether the depression rendered them unable to work a full week, or that the hours worked precipitated the depressive incident. Depressed workers reported that there was an average of 32 days in the past year that they were completely unable to work as a direct result of the depression.

Other mental health issues

20% Canadians will experience a mental health issue during their lifetime, but only 1/5 of them will recognize that they are having problems and seek help. Others will attempt to ride out the problem or self-medicate, potentially with alcohol or illicit substances. Identifying these issues at an early stage will cut costs in other areas later.

For the record, men and women experience mental health issues at approximately the same rate (1.4 million women or 11 per cent of the total surveyed compared to 1.2 million for men or 10 per cent of the total surveyed - Statistics Canada: CCHS 2003).

Other notes:

From the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health

  • Fewer than 20% of those who need treatment actually get it
  • 70% of those people are in the labour force
  • Individuals in their prime working years and valued employees with 10 to 15 years of service are uniquely vulnerable
  • Bipolar disorder can be categorized as a 'physical condition' according to a U.S. court
  • Depression is linked to diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart disease or stroke
  • On average, an episode of serious depression can take an employee off the job for an estimated 40 days. Which is longer than cardiac disease.

To get more information about mental health and depression in the workplace, contact us.


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Thank you to WELCOA for generous use of the concept. All artwork copyright © 2017 Natural Healthcare Canada. All rights reserved.

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