Four in ten employees at risk of depression

Poor psychological health has overtaken back problems as the leading workplace health issue, according to a new report by Global Corporate Challenge (GCC).

GCC surveyed 14,734 people from 34 leading companies in 67 countries and found that a staggering 39 percent of employees fell into the worst category for psychological wellbeing. This put them at risk of depression. The study was benchmarked against the World Health Organization’s WHO-5 Psychological Wellbeing Index. Dr David Batman, the health and performance leader’s Chief Medical Officer, said, “In my 25 years working as a specialist in occupational medicine, I’ve witnessed a meteoric rise in psychological health problems at work.

“Two decades ago, it was all back problems and neck problems and problems with industrial skin diseases – they were largely physical problems. But over the past 15 years there has been a sharp increase in psychological issues and this has now eclipsed back problems as the top issue in the workplace. One of the big underlying problems here is stress – which used to be the domain of senior managers but now affects everyone.” While the outlook may appear bleak, the good news is that businesses can turn these statistics around.

“Our data proves that businesses that focus on psychological wellbeing and take a whole-of-person approach to health were able to change the game for their workforce and be more competitive,” he said. "For example, our report showed that 83 percent of surveyed employees shifted from risk-of-depression to the best category for psychological wellbeing after completing the GCC’s comprehensive health programme. Now in its twelfth year, the initiative improves physical activity levels, nutrition and sleep, in addition to psychological wellbeing.

“Employers have to be creative. Traditional stress management or employee assistance programmes often suffer from fear of judgement. Strategies that don’t just rely on individuals to admit a problem, but are inclusive and motivating across an entire organisation provide the best opportunities to reach staff – especially those who are struggling the most.”

The new GCC Insights report arms employers with the strategies they need to tackle this invisible business issue. According to Dr Batman, the most successful approaches are those that don’t stigmatise or create resistance. With two million employees from some of the world’s most recognised brands nowhaving been through the GCC’s programme and proven its success, the GCC Insights data sample is one of the largest and most diverse of its kind. And it gives business leaders food for thought as they plan their health strategy for the New Year and beyond.

Created on: 14-Jan-16 15:39

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