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Depression in the Workplace: Tips for Managers
What Causes Depression?
- Stressful life events
- Chronic stress
- Low self-esteem
- Imbalances in brain chemicals and hormones
- Lack of control over circumstances
- Negative thought patterns and beliefs
- Chronic pain
- Chronic disease
- Heart disease and heart surgery
What Are the Symptoms of Depression in the Workplace?
What Are the Treatment Options?
What's the Next Step?
- Learn about depression and the sources of help that are available.
- Recognize when an employee shows signs of a problem affecting performance that may be depression-related. Refer employees appropriately.
- Discuss changes in work performance with the employee. You may suggest that the employee seek professional help if there are personal concerns. Assure the employee that all conversations will be kept in the strictest confidence.
If an employee voluntarily talks with you about her health problems, including feeling depressed or down all the time, keep these points in mind:
- Do not try to diagnose the problem yourself.
- Recommend that any employee experiencing symptoms of depression seek professional help from an employee assistance program (EAP) counselor or other health or mental health professional.
- Recognize that a depressed employee may need a flexible work schedule during treatment. Find out about your company’s policy by contacting your human resources specialist.
- Remember that severe depression may be life-threatening to the employee. If an employee makes suicidal comments, take the threats very seriously. Call an EAP counselor or other specialist right away and seek advice on how to handle the situation.
- While depressed persons are at much greater risk of harming themselves than others, take any threats against others very seriously and seek professional advice quickly. This is particularly true if a threat involves a family member since spouses and children are among the most common homicide victims of depressed individuals.
The Good News
National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org
Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org
Canadian Psychological Association http://www.cpa.ca
Depression. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 30, 2013. Accessed September 12, 2013.
Depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml#pub5. Published 2011. Accessed September 12, 2013.
Depression in the workplace. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF951E-1372-4D20-C88B7DC5A2AE586D. Accessed September 12, 2013.
Depression in the workplace. University of Michigan Depression Center. Available at: http://www.depressioncenter.org/understanding/workplace.asp. Accessed September 12, 2013.
What is depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml. Published 2011. Accessed September 12, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/12/2013