Team effort needed to combat mental illness in workplace

EAP and insurance providers working together can identify and treat issues earlier

With the rising incidence and cost of mental health issues in the workplace, employers need to take a co-ordinated approach to dealing with mental health, according to a national employee assistance program (EAP) provider.

Best Practices in Depression Disease Management, by Toronto-based EAP provider Shepell-fgi, recommends a co-ordinated effort that links the clinical services of the EAP with case management services provided by insurers to better identify and assist employees suffering from depression.

Such an approach would catch people earlier, accelerate access to proper clinical support, promote a return to health and a return to work, help to reduce the incidence of serious illness and reduce employers' mental health costs.

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the workplace and is the most expensive, according to Shepell-fgi.

The annual cost of depression in Canada is estimated to be $33 billion with depression accounting for higher employee absenteeism than back pain, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and other mental conditions.

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