Depression involves a range of symptoms from a period of low spirits that makes coping with normal tasks harder, to life-threatening thoughts and behaviours that can make it impossible to function.
We all have mental health just as we have physical health – it moves up and down along a spectrum from good to poor. Considering how much time we spend at work, it’s not surprising that our jobs can affect our well being. It is also something employers can’t afford to ignore.
One of the most common mental health problems is depression, which affects one in ten people at any one time.
Internal causes of workplace depression:
- A wrong-fit role. A person feels called to be an artist but is working as an accountant.
- Misalignment between company and personal values. Keeping a job where there is ethical discomfort.
- Interpersonal discomfort. Having to interface with people who are unpleasant or simply have different preferences, personalities, or work styles.
- Work/life imbalance. working long hours even when not asked and missing out on social connection outside of work, as well as hobbies, opportunities to relax, and exercise.
- !Introvert/extrovert stress. A person may be an extrovert working in a role or environment where there is insufficient people interaction, or an introvert working in an office with no privacy.
- Financial struggles. Maybe compensation at the workplace and benefits do not meet the worker’s basic needs.
- Feeling trapped. The employee really wants to leave the job but cannot due to some personal reasons.
External causes of workplace depression:
- Unreasonable demands from management. This may include requests to work frequent overtime.
- Unclear guidance at work: Some employees don’t understand what is expected, so they feel they are in the dark and uncertain about whether they are doing a good job or not
- Poor project practices: This may result in miscommunication, missed deadlines, or products that miss the mark.
- Bullying at work. Bullying behaviours faced in the workplace can be a huge problem for some employees, whether they’re bullied by bosses, co-workers or clients.
- Low morale or low engagement at work.
- Poor working conditions: For example, not letting employees take enough breaks, or ignoring workplace safety concerns
- When Employees Feel Trapped: Feeling like you have hit a dead end at the workplace position wise.
Management of Depression at the workplace:
- Exercise: This is a good way to work off steam, and workers have to somehow take back their sense of control in any situation that is adding to their distress.
- Know When It’s Time to Go? “Take the time to stop and examine why you have chosen to remain in your current position, “Job security? Great benefits? Do you feel you are incapable of doing anything else? Be honest with yourself and know that you are in control of the decisions you make, including whether you stay or go.”
- “HR can take the lead in listening for problems and by asking questions and being willing to hear the employee speak. Companies need to take the initiative to fix a known problem and this help employees feel better about the organization and the work they are doing.
- Mentally healthy workplaces: Employers need to be proactive in managing the mental health of all their staff, whether they are experiencing a problem or not. Smart employers know that organisations are only as strong as their people and that the experiences, wellbeing and motivation of each worker are fundamental to how the organisation performs as a whole.
- Encourage people to talk: Create an open environment where people feel able to have a dialogue about their wellbeing, and even disclose a diagnosed mental health problem should they wish.
Respect confidentiality: Remember mental health information is highly confidential and sensitive. Don’t pass on information unnecessarily
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