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Halo

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

CBC News

About four out of five employees diagnosed with depression in Canada and the United States said they believe their careers would be hurt if their employers knew, a new poll suggests.

The stigma leads employees to keep the diagnosis a secret, according to the survey by Ipsos Reid released on Thursday at an international seminar on mental health organized by the Canadian embassy in Washington.

In Canada, 11 per cent of respondents said they have been diagnosed by a physician as depressed, compared with 15 per cent of workers in the U.S.

About 22 per cent in Canada and 21 per cent in the U.S. said they think they have depression that has not been properly diagnosed.

The poll also suggested that Americans are more supportive than Canadians of those suffering from depression, and that people in the U.S. have a better understanding of the condition.

About 90 per cent said they believe depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Depression is more common among women (18 per cent) than men (11 per cent), and it also more prevalent among those with lower income and less education.

Companies should make helping employees with depression a priority, 84 per cent of those polled said.

It is estimated that mental illness costs Canadian and U.S. business more than $300 billion a year in disability and lost productivity.

Ipsos-Reid polled a random sample of 1,000 adult Canadians and 1,000 adult Americans on Jan 31 and Feb. 1 for the survey. The results are considered to be accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
 

Banned

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I was always of afraid of anyone at work finding out about my depression, especially since there was another person in our department who also had depression but it was under far less control than mine.

I decided to just be honest with my employer and tell him what was going on. He was pretty supportive and said that he would do whatever he had to do to help me get better and stay better. I probably lucked out because I know not all of my employers in the past have been as understanding. I've often watched to see how they deal with others before making the decision to tell them about me.

As it stands now, I'm self-employed and don't need to worry about it anymore, or at least for the next five years. That's the upside. The downside is I have a lot less support if I relapse...
 

Halo

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I too have a great boss who understands and is helpful anyway she can be. She is understanding and non-judgmental and I am truly lucky to have her on my side. A few of my fellow co-workers also know about my depression and anxiety and are as understanding to a point. Unfortunately most of them think that drinking is a cure all and will solve all problems :rolleyes:

Because of the field that I work in depression and mental health is not such a taboo but I still don't feel comfortable with upper-management knowing about my depression and anxiety and if they know by way of others telling them, at least they haven't said anything to me and treated me any differently.

As long as I have my boss on my side who understands, I am good :)
 

texasgirl

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My boss actually told me how he was looking for ways to fire a colleague of mine for being out on disability for depression. So when I went through my recent problems, I told them I had a kidney stone. Sad but true and the only way I felt I could protect my job.
 

Halo

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That is sad but very true in the workplace, unfortunately. It must have been really hard knowing how your boss felt and having to hide your problems but very understandable.

I do have to say that thank god there are laws to protect the jobs of people that are out on disability for mental illnesses however I think that it is returning to work when they may encounter problems.
 

texasgirl

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Yes. The issue too is that, like my boss, they look for other ways to let you go so that it becomes a "performance" issue even when it isn't. It's insidious.
 

Halo

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That is why the person hopefully finds a good lawyer and sues the company for wrongful dismissal. They will try to claim that there was "just cause" for the dismissal but more often than not there is no paperwork or performance reviews to back up their claims for dismissal especially once they have to turn over the personnel file to the lawyers office. Paper trails don't lie :)
 

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