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U.S. Workers With Depression Lose 51 Days in Productivity Each Year

TELUS Health has released its monthly TELUS Mental Health Index, revealing that U.S. workers with diagnosed depression lose 51 working days in productivity per year. The Index also found that 27% of workers say better support for their well-being is more important than a 10% increase in salary.  

“The impact of depression and anxiety on the workforce is significant, with more than half of all workers in the U.S. affected or suspecting they are,” says Juggy Sihota, chief growth officer at TELUS Health. “This not only leads to a loss of productive work time but also affects the overall well-being of employees. Recognizing the crucial connection between employee well-being and business success, it is essential for employers to prioritize investments in tools, processes, and comprehensive benefits plans that foster mental well-being. By doing so, they can cultivate a highly engaged and productive workforce that drives positive business outcomes.”  

Mental health and work-related stressors are linked to productivity loss at work. Key findings from TELUS Health are below.  

  • Approximately 19% of workers with a mental health score of 50 or lower experience a significantly higher productivity loss than workers with a mental health score of 90 or more.  
  • The isolation score of workers improved nearly one point yet remains the second lowest mental health sub-score for the 18th consecutive month.  
  • Workers reporting workplace conflict lose 42 working days in productivity per year.  

Workers find value in support for well-being. Additional key findings from TELUS Health include the following.  

  • When asked about their most valued elements of health benefits, most workers in the U.S. prioritize medical coverage (72%), followed by medication (36%), and dental benefits (35%).  
  • More than 11% of workers value psychological services the most.  
  • Workers under 40 are nearly three times more likely than workers over 50 to value psychological services most.  

“As mental health scores continue to be at a suboptimal level, workers are increasingly aware that financial and mental well-being are deeply interconnected, and that overall well-being involves far more than just a salary,” says Paula Allen, global leader of research and client insights at TELUS Health. “In today’s uncertain economic environment, it is very telling that workers are placing equal, if not greater, importance on well-being support compared to their salary. This highlights a significant opportunity for employers to meet employees’ needs by providing resources and real-time support that go beyond financial considerations to maintain morale and ultimately retain top talent.”  

The mental health score of workers in the U.S. is 70.7, a full point improvement over September 2023.  

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