This test can help you identify early warning signs of depression.
Today [October 8] is National Depression Screening Day, which means you have an opportunity to take a free online test that could help determine your risk of depression. Additionally, you can offer this confidential tool to those around you – friends, family members, and employees.
Prevalence of Depression
One in 10 Americans has depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet the vast majority of people don’t even know they have it. The symptoms of depression are often attributed to other issues, like stress or aging. As a result, most people never seek treatment.
Undiagnosed and untreated depression tends to get worse over time. And in worst case scenarios, it can be fatal. But today you have an opportunity to help others recognize their risk factors for depression.
How Depression Affects the Workplace
Most employers never address mental health issues in the workplace – at least not proactively. Although depression is one of the most common reasons people with employee assistance programs seek help, most companies aren’t talking about it.
Many business leaders believe discussions about mental health issues should be reserved for private conversations between an individual and a doctor. But, there’s a lot of evidence that shows a person’s mental health greatly affects their workplace performance.
Here are the facts on workplace depression, according to the University of Michigan’s Depression Center:
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- Workers with depression miss approximately 2.3 days of work per month.
- Workers with depression are less productive, and that decreased productivity costs employers billions of dollars every year.
Treatment for Depression
Depression is very treatable. In fact, the National Institute of Health reports that up to 80% of those treated for depression see an improvement in their symptoms within four to six weeks of treatment. But, people can’t be treated for depression unless they’ve been diagnosed.
Depression screenings are an effective first step toward getting a proper diagnosis. A 2009 research study by the University of Connecticut showed that 55% of participants who completed an online depression screening sought treatment within three months.
How to Get Involved
Take the depression screening for yourself. It’s free, anonymous, and only takes a few minutes of your time. If your answers indicate signs of depression, the screening tool will give you information about local services that can help. You can always start by talking with your doctor as well.
But don’t stop there. Send the link to the depression screening tool to those around you. Say something like, “It’s National Depression Screening Day. I think everyone should spend a few minutes taking this free online test today.”
If you’re a business leader, send a company-wide email encouraging workers to take a minute to complete the screening. Emphasize the importance of staying physically and mentally healthy and getting help early. Depression is much easier to treat when the warning signs are discovered early.
Talking about depression and mental health issues helps reduce the stigma that’s often attached to mental illness. It’s also a good time to educate people about how to build mental strength and reduce their risk factors for depression.