Unmet mental health-care needs costing Canadian economy billions

Depression, anxiety costs add up to $50 billion per year
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/08/2016

Depression and anxiety cost the Canadian economy at least $32.3 billion per year and $17.3 billion per year, respectively, in foregone GDP due to lost productivity, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care.

“A large proportion of working Canadians have unmet mental health-care needs that prevent them from performing to their utmost and our report shows this has serious consequences for the Canadian economy,” said Louis Thériault, vice-president of public policy at the Conference Board. “Improving treatment of mental illness among working Canadians would offer significant benefits for individuals, businesses, society and the economy.”

 Almost one-quarter of Canadians living with a mental illness are unable to work because of their symptoms, said the report. But employers can improve the treatment of anxiety or depression among employees by facilitating access to evidence-based benefits, programs and supports.

Mental illness can also prevent some people from entering the workforce, said the Conference Board. If all these Canadians had access to better treatments and supports, the economy may see up to 352,000 Canadians with depression or anxiety enter the workforce as fully functional employees each year until 2035.

Employees in services-producing industries feel they have the greatest need for mental health care. About 2.5 million employees in the services sector feel some sort of mental health care is required. Industries that have the highest proportion of employees with unmet mental health needs, include:

·         administrative support and waste management (44.4 per cent)

·         accommodation and food services (43.8 per cent)

·         professional, and scientific and technical services (42.9 per cent).

The report can be found here: Healthy Brains At Work: Estimating the Impact of Workplace Mental Health Benefits and Programs.

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