Depressing reading

2007

The next time you think you're having a bad day and hate your job, take a look at some sobering statistics. According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people working in the personal care and food prep sectors have the highest incident rate of depression.

With respective rates of 10.8% and 10.3%, these two services led the way in number of employees suffering a major depression attack within the past 12 months. The study defined a depression attack as lasting at least a fortnight and whereby the person was depressed and demonstrated at least four other symptoms, ranging from troubles eating, sleeping, etc.

According to Administrator Terry Cline, this represents $33.6 billion dollars in lost productivity per year. Interestingly enough, the study revealed that women were significantly more likely to suffer from depression, while the most struck age group was your 18-25 year olds.

Socially speaking, depression in the United States is not yet a fully appreciated illness. Still the butt of jokes, it would be easy – yet inappropriate – to write off such incidents as misguided youth, etc.

However, one has to wonder whether or not these demographics have access to the appropriate health care (including plans that include mental health treatment). What happens to these people who go untreated and become part of the 25-35 age group? What happens to the company that loses a sizeable amount of its workforce in two vital industries due to illness?

Given the price and coverage for mental health treatment in today's insurance programs, in addition to the social stigma of admitting that one has emotional troubles, I guess we're not likely to get the answers to these questions soon.

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