Insights & Analysis

October 7, 2019

The Business Case for Mental Health on National Depression Screening Day

national depression screening day

For top executives and the teams they steward, mental health is a significant and growing focus. It’s also a critical component of social prosperity. At the Business Council of Alberta, it is an area of deep importance to our members, along with the associated issues of health, wellness, productivity, absenteeism, and presenteeism.

That’s why, as National Depression Screening Day launches this week, we are very proud to join Calgary Counselling Center along with many post-secondary education institutions and businesses across Alberta in support of this vitally important initiative.

What is National Depression Screening Day?

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is a free public service to help raise awareness of depression by providing a free and anonymous online screening test and encourage those who need help, get it. The test doesn’t diagnose depression in individuals but points to possible symptoms and provides referrals for further evaluation, if necessary.

This year’s campaign runs October 7-13, with NDSD 2019 falling on October 10.

Why is NDSD important?

Mental illness doesn’t affect one or two people; it affects everyone. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression. Depression also does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status, occupation, or personality.

However, there is good news. Calgary Counselling Centre CEO, Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, explains, “Depression is highly treatable, and early detection significantly improves the effectiveness of treatment. The online screening test is an excellent resource for people to learn if they have depressive symptoms so they can begin to address it.”

This year, it is particularly important to take the test. With the downtown in the economy over the past few years, many Albertans are worried about the future for themselves and their families. In fact, 46% of Albertans experience depression and/or anxiety at some point in their lifetime. (Source: Calgary Counselling Centre). However, only half will seek the necessary help. The test can help identify any symptoms and provide feedback and encourage people to get help, if necessary.

Mental Health in the Workplace

Most of us (58%, globally) will spend nearly one-third of our lives at work. As our workplaces, corporate cultures, and leaders can have positive and negative effects on our mental health, it is important that business leaders and employers take this issue seriously.

At any time, an average of one in 20 employees is experiencing depression, losing 5 hours of work per week. In any size team, that’s meaningful; across our economy, it’s highly significant. In Canada, the annual cost of productivity loss is estimated at $4.5 billion, and the annual cost of depression is estimated at $14 billion (Source: Calgary Counselling Centre).

Leaders are not immune. According to a University of California San Francisco study, approximately 30% of business leaders and entrepreneurs experience mental illness. And this can trickle down to the rest of the company.

A mentally healthy workplace is critical for the health of business. When leaders model positive mental health behavior, including talking about mental health with their employees, acknowledging their struggles and seeking help when necessary, they help normalize the issue within the workplace, creating environments where they and their employees can thrive. And when leaders and employees thrive, companies thrive. And when business does well, we all do well.

Leaders are part of the solution

Leaders, entrepreneurs, and employers are a part of the solution. There are many things business leaders can do to support their teams and their mental health:

  • Share the screening test with their teams and encourage everyone, including the executive team, to take the test
  • Normalize mental health by talking openly, honestly and empathetically about the realities of depression in the workplace and the stigmas attached to it
  • Invest in employee mental health benefits
  • Share their own stories and experiences with mental health
  • Encourage and support employees to seek help, if necessary
  • Recognize and respect that mental health deserves attention and dedicated effort, like physical health

Take the Test

The test is free and anonymous and only takes a few minutes to complete. Whether a leader or employee, take some time to check in with your mental health and take the test today. Click the button below to begin.

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In the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and respect, we honour and acknowledge the lands upon which we live and work as guests, including the traditional territories of the First Nations in Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and the citizens of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We thank the First Peoples of this land, which we now call Alberta, for their generations of stewardship of the land, and we seek to walk together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to build a shared future for all in Alberta.

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