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The Business Case for Quality Mental Health Services: Why Employers Should Care About the Mental Health and Well-Being of Their Employees

Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD; Ozminkowski, Ronald J. PhD; Sederer, Lloyd I. MD; Mark, Tami L. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2002 - Volume 44 - Issue 4 - p 320-330

Employers are very concerned about rising mental health care costs. They want to know whether their health care spending is improving the health of workers, and whether there is a productivity payback from providing good mental health care. This article addresses the subject of employee depression and its impact on business. The literature suggests that depressed individuals exert a significant cost burden for employers. Evidence is mounting that worker depression may have its greatest impact on productivity losses, including increased absenteeism and short-term disability, higher turnover, and suboptimal performance at work. Although there is no conclusive evidence yet that physical health care costs decrease when depression is effectively treated, there is growing evidence that productivity improvements occur as a consequence of effective treatment, and those improvements may offset the cost of the treatment.

From The MEDSTAT Group, Inc, Washington, D.C. (Dr Goetzel, Dr Mark) and Ann Arbor, Mich. (Dr Ozminkowski), and the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C. (Dr Sederer).

Address correspondence to: Ronald J. Ozminkowski, PhD; The MEDSTAT Group, 777 East Eisenhower Parkway, 803R, Ann Arbor, MI 48108;

The opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The MEDSTAT Group, Inc, or The American Psychiatric Association, which funded preparation of this manuscript.

Copyright © by American College of Occupational and Environmental Health

©2002The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine