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Employer Benefits From an Early Intervention Program for Depression: A Cost–Benefit Analysis

Callander, Emily J. BA, PhD; Lindsay, Daniel B. BPsych, PhD; Scuffham, Paul A. BA, PGDip, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 3 - p 246–249
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000939
Original Articles

Objective: The Work Outcomes Research Cost-benefit (WORC) project aimed to determine if early intervention for depression influenced workforce productivity in full-time employees. The current study aims to examine whether this intervention is cost-effective.

Methods: A cost–benefit analysis of the WORC project from the employer's perspective was undertaken, taking into account intervention costs and associated gains due to increased workforce productivity from baseline to 12-month follow-up.

Results: Both the single intervention and case management groups were found to have a decrease in time lost at work due to presenteeism. This contributed to net gains resulting from increased workforce productivity in both intervention groups.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the WORC intervention was cost-effective. A similar intervention to that described here may be beneficial to employers who are seeking to increase workforce productivity.

Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland (Drs Callander, Lindsay); and Centre for Applied Health Economics, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia (Dr Scuffham).

Address correspondence to: Paul A. Scuffham, BA, PGDip, PhD, Director – Centre for Applied Health Economics, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia (

The article used data from the WORC study designed and led by Harvey Whiteford, Professor of Population Mental Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Authors Lindsay, Callander, and Scuffham have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine