1. Depression is among the most burdensome diseases and will become the greatest cause of disability worldwide by 2030 and is currently the predominant mental health problem at work affecting up to 1 in 5 employed patients.
2. There is little understanding and recognition of depression and the cognitive symptoms, such as lack of attention, difficulty planning and taking decisions and memory loss. These symptoms can affect up to 94% of all patients with depression, which highly impact workers’ ability to work and function on a daily basis.
3. Depression and its related cognitive symptoms are a leading cause of lost work productivity, sick leave, early retirement or loss of employment and thereby have a major impact on the EU’s economy.
4. It is important that prevention, screening and awareness of depression and its cognitive symptoms are improved in relation to depression at work through both sound management practices and support and information to employers.
5. Depression must become a major employment and health and safety priority as well as a priority for public health as the burden and cost is already creating major challenges in Member States’ health, employment and economic systems.
6. Policies addressing depression and its related cognitive symptoms and their impact at work should be developed and promoted at European and national level, also in view of preventing avoidable and at times harmful accidents at the workplace.
7. The upcoming European Strategy on health and safety (2013-2020) must take into account the significant burden and impact of depression and its cognitive symptoms, such as lack of attention, difficulty planning and taking decisions and memory loss, in order to improve workers’ health and safety at work.
8. A virtual forum of experts should be developed in order to ensure regular discussions of experts, patients and policy makers on how to tackle depression and its impact on the workplace.
9. It must be a priority to ensure incorporation of the burden and impact of depression at the workplace in the formulation of the upcoming WHO Mental Health Action Plan.