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Tackling depression in the workplace

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As the leading cause of disability worldwide, depression represents a significant burden on the workplace.1 In particular, the cognitive symptoms commonly experienced by employees with depression affect essential workplace skills such as concentration, memory and decision-making.2

The cost of depression in lost productivity alone is estimated at £77 billion in Europe annually.3

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‘Target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace’ is a Europe-wide initiative aimed at helping business executives and professionals tackle these devastating effects. This initiative is guided by a Business Leadership Forum that brings together representatives from international health and labour organisations with business leaders from some of the largest employers in Europe. The programme was set up to enable both company executives and HR professionals to:

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In October 2014, business leaders from across Europe launched a Business Charter that aims to reduce the burden of depression on companies by preventing the disabling effects of depression among their employees. By committing to the Charter, businesses can use its six key principles to guide the development of policies and practices:

  • A healthy, prevention-focussed workplace
  • An informed and understanding workplace
  • A well-trained, responsive workplace
  • An open, safe and secure workplace
  • An adaptive, supportive workplace
  • A workplace with ties to community care and key influencers

Companies that have already endorsed the Charter include Barclays, Unilever, Lundbeck, Royal Mail, Deutsche Post DHL Group and British Telecoms (BT).

For more information on the initiative, or to get involved, visit the website here.

The European Business Charter to target the Impact of Depression in the Workplace is available to download.

You can also join the group on LinkedIn.

  1. World Health Organization. Depression Fact sheet. Available at: Last accessed October 2016.

  2. Conradi HJ et al. Psychol Med 2011; 41: 1165–1174.

  3. Olesen J et al. Eur J Neurol 2012; 19: 155–162.

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