Depressing workplace news from Gallup-Healthways

By BenefitsPro

By Dan Cook

Depressed people take more time off work than people who do not suffer from depression.

This is the sort of thing that comes as no surprise to HR managers. But how about this? U.S. employees who have been diagnosed with depression miss an estimated 68 million more days from the job than those who haven’t been so diagnosed.

That’s what Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data, gathered in 2011 and 2012, says. Gallup reached out to 237,615 full-time and 66,010 part-time employees for the study.

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index asks respondents: "Has a doctor or nurse ever told you that you are depressed?"

Gallup then asked: "During the past 30 days, about how many days did poor health keep you from doing your usual activities?"

Next, Gallup enquired: "Earlier, you indicated that you had xx days in the last month where poor health prevented you from doing your usual activities. How many actual work days in the last month did you not work due to poor health?"

At last, the results:

“Full-time workers who have been diagnosed with depression make up make up 10.8 percent of the U.S. full-time workforce and average 8.7 missed work days each year due to poor health,” the pollster reported.

“Workers who have never been diagnosed with depression miss an average of 4.6 work days per year. Thus, those who have depression or a history of depression miss more than four additional days per year as a function of poor health …”

Part-time workers have a higher rate of self-reported depression and miss even more work: 13.7 days a year, compared to 8.7 missed days a year for the rest.

Gallup continues to pursue this line of questioning, and so far in 2013, it reports that an average 12 percent of all workers report they have been diagnosed with depression. About half of them are currently being treated.

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