The American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) recently announced a new Webbased
educational initiative to raise awareness about the impact of depression in
the workplace and the benefits of early recognition and proper treatment.
As part of the APF's National Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, the
AllStars at Work project will educate and provide resources for employees and
employers across the country about the benefits of a mentally healthy
workforce and the importance of facilitating access to quality mental health
National Football League Hall-of-Famer Terry Bradshaw helped introduce the
initiative at the APF's Toast of New York fundraising event, which was held at
the Empire State Building during APA's 2004 annual meeting in May. Bradshaw
spoke about his experience with depression and the impact treatment has had on
"I sure don't have the average job," Bradshaw said, "but
I know how depression and anxiety can affect how you feel about your
work." During his football career, he had an intense fear of failure,
adding that he felt no enjoyment from his victories and isolated himself from
Bradshaw said that he feels he wasted years of his life by waiting to
address his symptoms. "Looking back, I wish someone could have told me
that what I was feeling was depression, and that help was available. Now with
proper treatment, I feel good all day and can focus on the things that matter
to me like my career and my family."
The All-Stars at Work program will feature a Web-based public education
campaign with a public service announcement featuring Bradshaw and a patient
with depression, fact sheets for employers, and a brochure for employees.
The initiative will educate employers and employees about the high
prevalence and costs of depression, which strikes nearly 10 percent of the
population in any given year, appearing often for the first time during the
prime "working years" of life. It will also explain the medical
and economic benefits of treatment.
Depression costs U.S. employers $44 billion annually in lost productivity.
People with untreated depression are often less productive and effective in
their work and have increased absences and disability costs. Unfortunately,
fewer than half of people suffering from depression seek treatment.
Individuals may not recognize their symptoms as signs of an illness, or they
may fear the reactions of coworkers, friends, and family. As a result,
millions of people with depression and anxiety do not seek treatment and
unnecessarily experience problems at their jobs or in their relationships.
"APF recognizes that mental health disorders are a significant
problem in the workplace, and through the National Partnership for Workplace
Mental Health, we are dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of a
mentally healthy workforce, early recognition of mental disorders, effective
treatment, and appropriate access to quality mental health care," said
APF President Altha Stewart, M.D.
The good news for employers and employees is that depression is among the
most treatable of medical illnesses, with 70 percent to 80 percent of people
with depression responding well to treatment, and almost all patients gain
some relief from symptoms. A key part of the educational message will be that
when employees receive treatment for depression, businesses benefit through
decreased health and disability costs and increased productivity.
All-Stars at Work is the latest initiative of the National Partnership for
Workplace Mental Health, an APF program that delivers educational materials to
employers and employees on a broad range of mental health topics, provides a
forum for businesses to explore mental health issues and share innovative
solutions, and serves as a clearinghouse for mental health information
important to employers. All-Stars at Work is supported in part through an
educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline.
Information about the workplace partnership can be obtained online
or by contacting me by phone at (703) 907-8673 or by e-mail at