Making the Business Case for Enhanced Depression Care: The National Institute of Mental Health-Harvard Work Outcomes Research and Cost-Effectiveness Study

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Objective:Explore the business case for enhanced depression care and establish a return on investment rationale for increased organizational involvement by employer-purchasers.Method:Literature review, focused on the National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored Work Outcomes Research and Cost-effectiveness Study.Results:This randomized controlled trial compared telephone outreach, care management, and optional psychotherapy to usual care among depressed workers in large national corporations. By 12 months, the intervention significantly improved depression outcomes, work retention, and hours worked among the employed.Conclusion:Results of the Work Outcomes Research and Cost-effectiveness Study trial and other studies suggest that enhanced depression care programs represent a human capital investment opportunity for employers.

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