Workplace Wednesday- Depression
Every once in in a while, one may feel sad or blue due to the normal ups and downs of life. However, if emptiness and despair seems to be taking hold and won’t go away, you may need to see your doctor soon. Do you feel irritable or angry, fatigued, helpless, hopeless, lost interest in daily activities, have appetite or weight changes, sleep changes, self-loathing, have poor concentration and decision-making as well as unexplained aches and pains? It could be the symptoms of depression.
Most depressed employees try to hide their problem due to shame, stigmatization, and fears of being fired or reprimanded. An employee may become withdrawn or seem “down”, lack enthusiasm or may abuse substances when depressed. Effects on work can include: problems with decision-making and concentration, lower productivity, more errors and accidents, and an increase in absenteeism.
Depression is expected to rank second only to heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. It is also a major cause of death and serious injury — most people who commit or attempt suicide are suffering from depression. Only one in every three people suffering from depression seeks proper treatment. However, for those who do, the success rate is very high. Currently, medications and therapies can help between about 90 percent of those with clinical depression.
The symptoms of depression vary widely from person to person. If you think a co-worker may be suffering from depression, show respect and support. On a confidential basis, urge them to talk to their physician, an on-site occupational health nurse or an employee assistance professional, who can refer them to the right kind of treatment.
While its root causes may not necessarily be work-related, its effects certainly are —preventable accidents, lower productivity, replacement costs and disability payments. It is clearly in the employer’s interest to identify and address depression at the earliest possible stage. Workplaces that value job satisfaction, support work-life balance, and encourage a friendly, supportive culture have fewer problems related to stress and depression.
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