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Depression affects 1 in 20 employees in the workplace. It can affect anyone and can be caused by a number of different factors. It most often affects those between the ages of 24-44, an age group that are usually in their working years1. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to costly affects in the workplace due to:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Increased disability costs and claims
  • Increased costs to hire and train new employees

What can employers do?

It is important for employers to look out for the signs and symptoms of depression which include:

  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Decreased productivity
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Decline in dependability
  • Unusual increase in errors in work
  • Being prone to accidents
  • Frequent tardiness, increased “sick” days
  • Lack of enthusiasm for work1

In addition to recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression, there are a number of other things that employers can do to both prevent the onset of depression, and in treating those experiencing the illness. For example:

  • Provide information and presentations about mental health issues (such as depression)
  • Ensure that managers and supervisors are knowledgeable about depression and how to support their employees
  • Develop and implement mental health policies for the workplace
  • Promote Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and encourage employees to use these programs and services
  • Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance
  • Provide support and accommodation to those employees experiencing depression


National standard for psychological health and safety in Canadian workplaces


  1. Canadian Mental Health Association (2015). Depression in the Workplace. Ontario. Retrieved from