Depressed? Get Help At Work!

Evidence-based workplace depression prevention programs greatly reduce depression symptoms, according to scientists from Australia.

AsianScientist (May 29, 2014) – Can workplaces or offices prevent the development of depression? According to a team of scientists from Australia, workplaces are a prime location to base mental health education and prevention programs – despite their common association with work-related stress, anxiousness or even depression.

Mental disorders are a leading cause of sickness absence in most developed countries. Although solutions to work-related mental health problems are typically reactive, psychological studies have suggested that a proactive and preventive approach may bring about more benefits. The team, led by Samuel Harvey, Head of the Workplace Mental Health Research Program at the University of New South Wales, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence for work-based universal prevention of depressive illness.

“We did a systematic search across the world to identify good quality research publications that tested the impact of depression prevention programs in different workforces,” said Dr. Harvey.

The results of the meta-analysis, which was published in BMC Medicine, showed for the first time that evidence-based workplace depression prevention programs significantly reduced depression symptoms among employees. Evidence-based programs are programs backed by quantitative research studies.

“This tells us two things. Firstly, that the workplace is a viable location for providing universal mental health prevention programs, and secondly, it demonstrates the potential power of the workplace for spreading important public health messages and shows that we can become too focused on the potential negative aspects of work and work stress on mental health,” Dr. Harvey explained.

The article can be found at: Tan et al. (2014) Preventing the development of depression at work: a systematic review and meta-analysis of universal interventions in the workplace.


Source: University of New South Wales; Photo: David Wall/CC/Flickr.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Alan Aw is a maths enthusiast who likes sharing the fun and beauty of science with others. Besides reading, he enjoys running, badminton, and listening to (and occasionally playing) Bach or Zez Confrey.

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