Association News
Quarterback Helps Kick Off Foundation's Campaign
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 14 page 34-34

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 services.

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 his life.

"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 his teammates.

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 by visiting<www.workplacementalhealth.org> or by contacting me by phone at (703) 907-8673 or by e-mail at cmiller@psych.org.

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