One-fifth of workers suffering from depression

More managers receiving training to help distressed employees: Survey

More than one-fifth (22 per cent) of Canadian employees are suffering from depression (with 14 per cent diagnosed) while an additional 16 per cent report having experienced depression previously, according to an Ipsos Reid survey released by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.

In addition, 84 per cent of managers and supervisors continue to believe it is part of their job to intervene when an employee is showing signs of depression, comparable to 2007 findings, found the survey of 6,624 people, including 4,307 among non-management employees and 2,317 managers and supervisors.

The good news is more managers (one-third) have received training on how to intervene with emotionally distressed employees compared to 2007 (one-fifth), said Mary Ann Baynton, program director for the centre.

"This speaks to increased awareness and availability of resources."

However, nearly two-thirds of managers are still seeking better training to address this type of situation, looking for more support and flexibility from upper-level management and human resources, she said.

Employers are also perceived to be less accommodating of those experiencing mental health-related issues compared to those with physical health-related issues, said Mike Schwartz, senior vice-president of group benefits for Great-West Life and executive director of the centre.

"The consensus appears to be that it is easier for workplaces to deal with physical disabilities than with mental health conditions — perhaps because employers may not be aware of available resources to help them do so, or because employees are less likely to self-identify as needing support."

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