Depression is a common human experience, which can be extremely debilitating.
On average, one in six people – one in five women and one in eight men will experience depression at some stage of their lives.
- Feeling useless, worthless, low, miserable, hopeless, irritable, bleak, numb or empty
- Expecting things to go wrong and predicting disaster
- Losing interest and enjoyment in activities they previously enjoyed
- Poor motivation, no interest and no sense of fun
- Fearing the future and feeling a lack of control
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Difficulty in concentration and memory, often linked to tiredness and irregular sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite and weight.
Potential impact on daily life and employment
- Low mood and poor motivation may affect relationships and the ability to manage tasks
- At times tiredness may affect day-to-day functioning
- Hypersensitive to comments or constructive criticism - may believe that they are wrong, have failed or are being bullied
- Feeling that their work is not good enough
- Needing assurance from peers and managers is not uncommon
- The individual may be secretive, as they are embarrassed or ashamed about their condition.
- Stable employment can help minimise symptoms of mental illness.
Support in the workplace
- Mood changes can lead to fluctuations in productive output. When feeling low, the individual may still be able to attend work, but may need some temporary adjustments (eg. change level of interaction with others either upwards or downwards)
- Allow for time off to attend services to support the condition (therapy, counselling, medical interventions etc.)
- Appoint a workplace buddy or mentor to provide personal support
- Ask a trusted person to act as an emergency contact should a time of crisis emerge
- Set clear, achievable goals to provide focus
- If possible, make work active as physical activity can help address depression
- Ask about medication being taken and possible side effects that may have a workplace implication
- Positive affirmations and regular feedback boost self-esteem and confidence. Avoid phrases such as “pull yourself together”, “you’ll get over it”, “it’s not as bad as you think”.
Source; Beyond Blue, 2015.