Every year, nearly one out of every ten Americans seeks treatment for depression. As an employer, chances are that some members of your team will fall into this category at some point. Depression is not just a bad mood, a negative outlook, or a personal weakness. It is a treatable illness, and it is your duty to learn how to identify and deal with workplace depression.
Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Depression.
This begins with an understanding of the myriad ways depression can present itself. You can’t expect workplace depression to be as obvious as an employee who cries all the time or talks about suicide. Depression is typically much more subtle than that. Common symptoms of depression include difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue, withdrawal from social situations, inability to experience appropriate happiness, lack of interest in hobbies and work, difficulty making decisions, and excessive feelings of guilt or wrongdoing.
Provide your Employees with the Resources they need.
If you provide health benefits for your employees, then you need to make them aware of the mental health coverage available to them. Additionally, set up a referral program for employees who might be interested in seeking either council or treatment for depression.
Speak candidly about Depression in the Workplace.
It’s a good idea to hold a meeting specifically about workplace depression and what to do about it. Considering the statistics, it’s likely that a majority of your employees will need that information at some point, for either themselves or a coworker. Make it a point to let your employees know that depression is nothing to be ashamed of–that it is actually a treatable condition that affects many people. When you remove the taboo from the topic in such a way, you increase the likelihood that your employees will be proactive when it comes to helping themselves, and others, through a depressive phase.
Minimize causal factors of Depression in the Office.
There are a number of factors that are known to catalyze workplace depression, and you should do your best to eliminate what you can of them. These factors include micromanagement, cultural differences and misunderstandings, sexual harassment, unrealistic expectations of employees, unclear or ambiguous expectations of employees, poor communication between employees and management, lack of opportunities for creativity and advancement, rundown/dirty work environment, and inadequate rewards system. If any of these situations apply to your business, then your employees are especially vulnerable to workplace depression.
Experts estimate that workplace depression costs businesses big – to the tune of about $50 billion per year. While you could easily use your Smart Recruiters system to find new employees, it’s best to retain the ones you already have and save the job listings for your future expansion. Don’t let this treatable illness bring your employees, and your business, down. Keep these considerations in mind every day, and never underestimate the power and reach of depression.