One in 10 working people has taken time off work in Europe due to depression resulting in 36 days of lost work per episode of depression, says a new survey from European Depression Association (EDA).
The survey included 7,000 people in Europe of which some 20 percent were found to be diagnosed with depression. The highest rate of depression was in Great Britain with 26 percent while Italy scored the lowest with 12 percent.
The survey also found that people in Germany (61 percent), Denmark (60 percent) and Great Britain (58 percent) were more likely to take a break from work due to depression than Turkey (25 percent). The lack of support at work was highest in Germany (44 percent) and lowest in Turkey (10 percent).
According to previous media reports on depression around the world, France was the most depressed while China was the least. The United States was the second-most depressed country in the previous study. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every 10 adults in the U.S suffers from depression.
For 2010, depression cost the European Union approximately €92 billion ($118 billion). About 50 percent of this loss was due to people taking time off work or being present at work while ill. The survey found that many people suffering from depression would rather not talk about their problems with the employer as they fear that they would lose their jobs.
"Depression in the workplace is an employment and societal challenge that is causing serious damage and which requires attention and action from the European Union," said Stephen Hughes, Member of the European Parliament, BBC reports.
In the survey, about 88 percent said that they considered being sad or having a bad mood as a sign of depression. Few employees fully understood the symptoms of depression with only 33 considering forgetfulness as a sign of depression while 44 percent and 57 percent identified indecisiveness and trouble concentrating, respectively, as signs of depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, feeling restless or irritable, overeating or appetite loss, feeling hopeless, difficulty in concentrating or remembering details, aches, pains and digestive problems that don't respond to treatment are among the many other signs of depression.
"The results of the survey show that much needs to be done in raising awareness and supporting employees and employers in recognising and managing depression in the workplace," said Dr. Vincenzo Costigliola, president of the European Depression Association, in a news release.