Personal care and service workers were more likely to have experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) than people in any other employment category, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report released October 11. Among full-time workers aged eighteen to sixty-four, 10.8 percent of personal care and service workers suffered an MDE within the past year. The group with the second highest rate of depression was food preparation and serving workers (10.3 %).
An MDE is defined as a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.
Across all employment categories, the annual average was seven percent of full-time workers experiencing an MDE during the years 2004 to 2006, with women experiencing nearly twice as many episodes as men. Employee depression costs U.S. companies an estimated $30 to $44 billion per year, according to NSDUH.