Depression in the Workplace: The Role of the Corporate Medical Director

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Depressive disorders are a major health issue in the US workplace. They are responsible for significant direct and indirect costs to the employer in terms of medical and pharmaceutical costs, time absent from work and decreased productivity while on the job (presenteeism). The Corporate Medical Director (CMD) or occupational health physician must be equipped to respond to this health problem just as they must be able to respond to the more “traditional” workplace issues such as communicable disease, occupational exposures, and work-related ergonomic injuries. An integrated response by the CMD includes forming partnerships with relevant departments such as the Employee Assistance Program, Human Resources, Corporate Benefits, and others; measuring the impact of the disease; and providing leadership with regard to interventions in health plan design, disability management, workplace policy, and education aimed at increasing awareness and destigmatization.

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