We have written recently about two topics that might seem to have little connection, except in that they both are central to well-run workplace wellness programs – diabetes and mental health.
Now a new study in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine connects the role that diabetes and poor mental health can have – not only on individuals, but also on employers and overall health costs.
The study, titled “The Burden of Poor Mental Well-being Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Examining Health Care Resource Use and Work Productivity Loss”, concludes that “patients with T2DM and poor or very poor mental well-being experience greater health care resource use and work productivity impairment than patients with T2DM and good mental well-being. The consequences of such impairment for those with poor or very poor mental well-being have real-world implications for associated costs to employers and health plans.”
The study notes the relationship between Type 2 diabetes mellitus and mental wellness.
It states: “Similar to other chronic illnesses, T2DM has been shown to have a relationship with mental wellness. In particular, T2DM’s relationship with depression has been well documented. It has been demonstrated in numerous observational studies that patients with T2DM and depression are at a greater risk of poor self-care, lower adherence to anti-hyperglycemic agents, and poor glycemic control. leading to a higher risk of micro- and macrovascular events and risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Patients with T2DM are also frequently affected by diabetes-related psychological distress, which may be affected by social stigma, lack of social support, or negative expectations about their diabetes. Like depression, diabetes-related psychological distress has been shown to have a negative impact on self-care, treatment adherence, and glycemic control.”
The study was undertaken because “although the effect of depression on health outcomes, such as health care resource use and work productivity loss, among patients with T2DM has been studied extensively, these outcomes have not been studied in patients with T2DM and poor mental well-being more generally. Indeed, much of the focus of prior research has been on understanding the burden of psychiatric comorbidities among patients with T2DM, but not well-being in its own right.”
This may be an area for companies to consider further in terms of program design and well-run workplace wellness programs. Of note for companies, the study looked at “The Association of Mental Well-being With Health Care Resource Use and Work Productivity.”
As the report notes: “For the whole sample, activity impairment was measured. Those with very poor and poor mental well-being had higher activity impairment than those with good mental well-being. Those with poor mental well-being had greater activity impairment than those with good mental well-being. Presenteeism, absenteeism, and overall work impairment were asked only of those participating in the labor force. Overall, approximately one-third of patients with T2DM were participating in the labor force. Patients with very poor mental well-being were less likely to participate in the labor force than those with poor mental well-being and good mental well-being. In addition, those with poor mental well-being were more likely to participate in the work force than those with good mental well-being. Those with very poor mental well-being had higher presenteeism, absenteeism, and overall work impairment than those with poor and good mental well-being. Likewise, those with poor mental well-being had higher presenteeism, absenteeism, and overall work impairment than those with good mental well-being.”