Corporations Want to Cure Depression in the Workplace

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The Ottawa Citizen has published two feature stories exploring a growing collaboration between scientists involved in the US National Institute of Mental Health-funded brain initiatives, European and North American multinational corporations, and mental health organizations in Canada. Their goal is to develop more “ambitious” workplace mental health strategies and “cure” depression.

Allies against depression: How a Canadian is driving science and business to find a cure (Ottawa Citizen, October 3, 2014)

Business and the brain: How some scientists hope to cure mental illness (Ottawa Citizen, October 2, 2014)

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, that’s rich. Instead of figuring out why people may get depressed working in a corpo environment (and that must be sooo hard to figure out) it’s better to put all the workers on drugs (like they don’t take them already).

  2. All of this coziness between the NIMH, the multinational corporations, and the mental health organizations turns out to be frightening as hell to me! I don’t want corporations getting involved in my “mental health” especially if they’re run by the wonderful Koch brothers who pretty much lead the One Percenters in most everything these days.

    All of this reminds me of that movie where everyone is on drugs to keep them “content” and “happy” and “productive”. The father in the story goes off his drugs and eventually is turned in to the government by his own kid. Does anyone recognize the movie and know the name of it? I think it’s a one word title.

  3. One of Wilkerson’s key strategies is recruiting employers – including governments – to allow their employees to volunteer for clinical trials on depression, which would reduce the cost and time of testing and bringing new therapies to market.

    “Look, we’d like to keep you working here, but if you go off your meds again, we’ll have to let you go.”

  4. An ambitious plan to cure depression in the workplace? Stop putting psychopaths in charge. The stress and anxiety created by a “bully” given the power to terrorize and intimidate those he is in charge of or has “responsibility” over often contributes to or triggers illnesses like depression. Increasing workloads, increased demands of paperwork, and unhealthy spaces with invasive noise and lighting do nothing to soothe the central nervous system.
    The individual hired as the principal in our school drove several people into states of clinical depression and they left jobs they loved, sick and disabled. Others live under constant stress with heightened anxiety. They have families and bills. They feel trapped. Those who are conscientious or perfectionIsts by nature are the most vulnerable.

  5. I left the following comment below the article:

    “Honestly, I find this article incredibly creepy. Reminds me of efforts to “help” soldiers with PTSD symptoms to “recover” so they can be thrown back into battle to be exposed to yet further trauma.

    There are good reasons why depression has become more common and more chronic over time, and it doesn’t have to do with bad brains. The way we run our businesses and our society is the biggest contributor, as we encourage people to disconnect from families and community and work long hours at meaningless positions in order not to starve to death. Meanwhile, we incentivize businesses to minimize labor costs, maximize profits, and invest in machines instead of people, and we intentionally assure that there is always a certain percentage of unemployed people in order to keep competition in the labor market sharp and keep wages and prices down. And that’s not counting the effects of pollution, global warming, warfare, and economic oppression in almost every country throughout the world. Depression seems a pretty normal and understandable response to such a bizarre way of living, especially when it seems there is little to nothing any one individual can do to stop this juggernaut from continuing to move forward on its destructive pathway.

    Maybe instead of teaming with neuroscientists to try and come up with new pills to make everyone OK with the crappy conditions we live in, they could start by working on improving wages and working conditions for their employees. There are many steps that could be taken, including on-site daycare, paid parental leave, living wages for low-level employees, employee democracy and profit sharing, and universal healthcare and education for cheap or free (something on which the USA has to catch up to the rest of the industrialized world).

    Depression is a natural response to bad conditions. Trying to “cure” depression with pills is like trying to banish physical pain. Sure, it hurts, but it’s warning you to get your hand off the damned stove! Numbness to bad social conditions is not a worthy goal, in my mind.”

    —- Steve

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