Determining the Price of Workplace Sadness

June 8, 2004 ( - HR officials now have a way to calculate the cost to their company of employee depression.

The HSM group, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based health care consulting firm, developed the calculator with support from PhRMA, a Washington, D.C.-based pharmaceutical research trade group. The calculator’s estimates are based on such as company size, industry, location, wage rates, and age and gender.

“Employers and employees both come out ahead when employees with depression receive the right medical treatment, with both counseling and medicines. Employers see improved work productivity and decreased absenteeism,” said PhRMA president Alan Holmer. American employers lose $52 billion annually from depression-related absenteeism and lost productivity, according to recent research from the University of Michigan Depression Center.

About 9.5% of American adults, or about 18.8 million individuals, experience depression each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression often occurs at the same time with physical illnesses like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, and also can increase the risk for later physical illness, disability, and premature death.

The product is at . More information about depression and its treatment is at .