The business case for quality mental health services: why employers should care about the mental health and well-being of their employees

J Occup Environ Med. 2002 Apr;44(4):320-30. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200204000-00012.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Depressive Disorder / economics*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / economics*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workplace*