‘Depression and burn-out’ at work afflict one-third of employees

Health charity says firms need to do more to offer support, as survey finds annual cost in EU is £77bn

Depression at work devastates lives and wipes billions from the European economy, a report finds.

Businesses will launch an initiative today to tackle the problem, setting out guidelines for spotting and helping employees with mental health issues. Behind the report are executives from organisations including Barclays, BT and Royal Mail.

Employers should be adept at spotting symptoms such as indecisiveness, forgetfulness and lapses in concentration among their staff which might point to depression, according to the report.

It also endorses health interventions already used by top companies, including in-house counselling, fitness programmes and “stress audits” to identify high-risk employees.

The report comes from a new coalition of leading European organisations which last year launched an initiative called Target depression in the workplace.

EU estimates suggest that nearly nine in every 10 cases of depression occur in someone of working age, with economic costs. A study by the London School of Economics and King’s College London estimated that the annual cost to European businesses was £77bn.

A survey by the Depression Alliance charity, published alongside the report, found that one in three people across the UK struggles to cope at work because of “depression, stress or burn-out”.  The charity’s chief executive, Emer O’Neill, said depression was the “biggest mental health challenge among working-age people” and could lead to loneliness and isolation at work. Many companies aren’t properly equipped to manage employees who suffer from depression so providing support to these individuals in the workplace is essential,” she said.

Bill Wilkerson, who chairs the Target Depression in the Workplace forum, said depression was “the principal source of workplace disability”.

In the report’s foreword he writes: “Today’s brain-based economy puts a premium on cerebral skills, in which cognition is the ignition of productivity and innovation. Depression attacks that vital asset. Research has proven that many organisations fail to have a concrete mental health and wellbeing policy in place. Human resources executives therefore must play an informed … role to advance mental health in the workplace and that quest begins with depression.”

Companies with good mental health practices cited by the report include BT, which provides employees with a mental health toolkit.

Ogilvy, the international advertising and PR firm which employs 18,000 people, runs lunchtime sessions on nutrition, sleep and time management, and also gives employees access to a clinical psychologist.

Tim Munden, vice-president of human resources at Unilever UK, said the consumer goods giant “firmly believed” in addressing depression to bring about benefits for the business and its employees.

“We aim for a 10 per cent reduction by 2015 in work-related mental ill-health cases and working days lost to mental ill-health,” he said.

Mark McLane, the global head of diversity and inclusion at Barclays, said: “We became a founding member of the Target Depression working group to share and benchmark leading practices across industries.

“Together we hope to change perceptions around mental health in the workplace in a positive way.”

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Sustainability Manager

    Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

    Graduate Sustainability Professional

    Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

    Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

    £850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

    Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

    £100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn