The financial toll of depression

by | Oct 11, 2020 | Take 5 Articles

Recent research reinforces the importance of early and effective treatment for depression. Total healthcare claims came to $13,845 per year on average for plan members who had changed their medications two or more times (possibly due to treatment failure), which is three times the average amount for those with just one or no change in medication ($4,375).

The study was sponsored by pharmaceutical manufacturer Janssen Inc. and conducted over three years. It evaluated claims data for drugs, extended healthcare and long-term disability for more than 125,000 Canadians with prescriptions for medications typically used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).

Treatment failures, or changes in medications, significantly increased the likelihood of long-term disability (LTD) leaves. Among plan members with one or no treatment failures, just two percent claimed for LTD. This increases to nine percent among those with two or more treatment failures, and to 40% among those with six or more treatment failures.

More details and additional research findings can be found in the summary two-page REPORT, “Major Depressive Disorder and the Financial Impact to Plan Sponsors and Employers,” in the sponsored-supplements section at

Benefits Canada is also hosting two virtual events related to mental health in the workplace. Both are available at no cost.

  • OCT. 15 WEBINAR (2:00-3:00 EST), “Meeting the growing demand for mental-health services caused by the pandemic” (sponsored by Teladoc Health)
  • NOV. 12-13 CONFERENCE, “2020 Mental Health Summit”

This article is part of The Benefits Alliance Take 5 for Health Benefits. Take 5 is a quarterly initiative that provides a deeper look a the employee benefits space by providing examples, research and case studies on what’s working for employers in Canada.