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Depression costs more than most employers realize


Often referred to as "the common cold of mental illness," depression is pervasive throughout the American workforce. But few employers are aware of the total costs associated with this condition.

New research published by the Integrated Benefits Institute found that claims data alone will not paint an accurate picture of the impact depression has on health care and disability costs as well as lost productivity.

Depression STD cases are 44% longer than STD cases for other diagnoses, according to "The Full Costs of Depression in the Workforce," which is available to IBI members only. Nonmembers can view a summary of the findings on IBI's web site.

In addition, lost time lost productivity, combined with wage loss payments, are two and a half times the cost of medical and pharmacy expenditures combined.

Perhaps the only good news about depression-related STD cases is that they have lower treatment costs than do non-depression STD cases. In fact, treatment costs for non-depression conditions are three times that of depression STD cases, IBI found.