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Workplace Mental Health

Maintaining employment can be difficult if you are living with depression or a mood disorder. Despite the desire to have regular and stable income, to be productive and to enjoy the structure of routine,   working with depression or a mood disorder can be challenging because of the stressful demands that employment can bring. 

Depression is currently the number one cause of disability in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO). For those who suffer with depression, managing stress and potential triggers in the workplace can be difficult. This is an issue that both employers and employees need to address together. 

Tips for the employee:

  • Have your self-care arsenal ready to go: Whether it’s the weekly yoga class or spending time with your family, try to find some way to unwind after a long day.  It’s a great way to keep your mental health in check. 
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep!
  • Keep your medical team in the know: Your doctor, your psychiatrist, and other medical professionals are on your side and want to see you succeed. Keep them in the loop on how you’re feeling.
  • Prioritize and strategize: You can’t do it all. Prioritize the most important tasks and make a strategy on how they should be tackled.
  • Put yourself first: You can’t do it all. Learning to say no and putting yourself first is difficult but critically important for your mental health.

Employers and business owners should consider the work environment as well. The WHO estimates that depression costs the global economy over a trillion dollars a year. This is due to absenteeism and lost productivity. Helping your employees is not only the right thing to do but it can help the bottom line. 

Tips for employers: 

  • Ensure a safe work environment: Hazards can cause stress if an employee is always worried about getting hurt on the job.
  • Be aware of work/life balance: Keeping an employee at work for more than 8 hours eats in to their time with their family and friends. It’s hard to practice self-care when there’s only so many hours in a day.
  • Set realistic expectations and goals: Base these goals on the employee’s skill set. Everyone is good at something but not everything. Help them find their niche within the business where they can thrive. 
  • Compensate fairly: A living wage is so important when it comes to stress. If an individual is not making enough to cover living expenses it causes a lot of stress. Not only will the employee probably not stay with the company for long but they could be constantly distracted while on the job.
  • Bonus: Recognize the mental health day!

Depression is a common, manageable disease. No one can tackle it alone, especially when it comes to maintaining employment.  When employees and employers work together to tackle this issue, we all win.

Other resources:

http://workplacementalhealth.org/Mental-Health-Topics/Workplace-Stress

https://www.who.int/mental_health/in_the_workplace/en/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://www.healthline.com/health/mdd/depression-and-work#3

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