Managing Depression in Your Workplace
Depression is one of the most common diseases that office workers face.
While it doesn't always manifest itself in a typical form, depression takes its toll on all those it affects.
Depression is typically thought of as an illness that causes the sufferer to lose interest in their passions and appearance, gain weight, and struggle with despair or extreme irritability.
While these are signs of depression, the truth is that many people who suffer from depression do not display any of these symptoms. A sufferer can show no outward signs of depression and still struggle with it daily.
It is because of this that depression can be so hard to identify.
Depression runs particularly rampant in office environments. Because of this, many workplaces employ tactics to help identify and treat depression in their workers.
The CDC even has published a guide for depression in the workplace to help employers protect their employees.
In this post, we will go over some steps to take if your company does not have a depression protocol in place.
How to Identify Depression
Before you can help treat your employees depression or depression symptoms, you must first identify which employees are suffering.
To do this, you must create a company-wide voluntary mental health assessment. Work together with a behavioral therapist to create your assessment, or use an assessment already proven to work by other companies.
After your employees have filled out their assessments, you can begin to analyze the data and create an intervention plan. The intervention plan is a way to calmly confront employees who have shown warning signs of depression in a safe and quiet place.
Remember: your intervention tactic should not try to shock or overwhelm your employee. Instead, it should be a gentle conversation with a licensed therapist present. You should inform your employee that they displayed symptoms of depression and that your company is here to help them.
It is of the utmost importance that you evaluate your employees assessments correctly. Using a licensed therapist is one way to ensure you have a working evaluation plan, but if a therapist is not available to you, you can use the CDCs measurements listed under evaluation of depression programs.
In summary, your strategy should first create a regular, effective mental illness assessment, second have your employees fill out this assessment annually or bi-annually, third use a clear metric for determining the risk of depression, and finally create a clear plan for intervention that allows your employee to get professional help.
Why Should My Company Care?
Its a valid question.
To many people, depression is a very private illness and not one that should be talked about in a professional setting.
However, like many illnesses, depression deflates an employees work habits.
When someone suffers from depression, they are more likely to call in sick from work and less productive while at work. This costs your company money in the form of loss of productivity.
Not only that, but when you show your employees that you are willing to take an active role in tackling their health issues, it increases employee loyalty.
Keep in mind that not every employee will want to participate in your mental health initiatives, and you cannot force them. In addition, you cannot discriminate against employees because of their mental health disorders.
The best course of action is to offer your employees help in their fight against depression and make resources available to them if they choose to accept.
Depression is Dangerous
Depression does not work like other illnesses. Sometimes it is an omnipresent force in the lives of its victims and sometimes it comes and goes in waves.
Regardless of how frequently it affects its victims, depression is a very serious illness that can be life-threatening.
Because of this, many employers are choosing to take action to combat depression in their employees.
Treating depression and other illnesses starts with a superior benefits package, like the packages that SOCA offers to all its members.
SOCA can offer your small business the resources and benefits that are available to all the large corporations without breaking the bank.
When you are ready to take your chamber benefits to the next level, reach out to SOCA.