The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing mental health crisis in the U.S., with an estimated 4 in 10 adults experiencing symptoms of depression, a four-fold increase over the 10% adults reporting symptoms in 2019. Depression causes an estimated 200 million lost workdays a year at a cost to employers of approximately $44 billion in lost productivity each year. Depression also contributes immensely to the cost and severity of other chronic conditions.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is much more than having a bad day or feeling sad; it is a serious mental illness that requires compassion, understanding and medical care. Some employees with MDD may be unfairly perceived as unmotivated, incompetent, unreliable, and even unfriendly, etc. CLICK HERE to learn more about MDD symptoms.
DFW Business Group on Health is partnering with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) in its Lone Star Depression Challenge (LSDC) Project to reduce depression in North Texas. We introduced the LSDC Project to DFWBGH members in early February and discussed our role in helping DFW employers become part of the solution to address depression in the workplace by helping to improve diagnosis and access to high quality, timely and affordable treatment in North Texas.
The Lone Star Depression Challenge Project consists of 2 components:
- Form a Depression Advisory Group (DAG), consisting of self-selected DFWBGH employers and their respective benefits consultants and health plan partners. The DAG’s task is to:
- Evaluate Benefits Strategies to manage depression in the workplace and identify “best in class” depression management examples.
- Develop Employer Depression Management Toolkit consisting of:
- Employee education to recognize symptoms, reduce stigma, and access treatment
- Guide to data collection & analysis to assess depression prevalence, treatment utilization, treatment costs, absenteeism, etc.
- Recommendations for effective benefits strategies, programs & resources to manage depression in the workplace
- Communications strategies to engage management and employees in effective depression management
- Employer Demonstration Project to reduce Depression in the Workplace
We will invite 2-3 DFWBGH employers to participate in a focused worksite project to educate employees about depression, examine benefits strategies and resources to support employees with depression, evaluate treatment data and costs, set goals to reduce depression, and measure outcomes.
The newly formed Depression Advisory Group (DAG) had a very successful first meeting on April 7 to discuss the challenges of reducing depression in the workplace, the role of DAG in DFWBGH’s LSDC Project, and DAG’s specific assignments described above. CLICK HERE to view the April 7th Meeting Slide Deck
In describing this meeting, a few phrases come to mind: high-engagement, impressive brain trust, wealth of ideas, to mention a few.
Several DAG members will be invited to participate in the DFWBGH Employer Demonstration Project focused on reducing Depression in the workplace.
DFWBGH Members interested in joining our Depression Advisory Group (DAG) or participating in our Employer Demonstration Project may contact DFWBGH Project Manager: Jandis Price at email@example.com.