Clinical depression among employees can be a costly illness to leave undiagnosed. In many workplaces, acts of violence are perpetuated by those who remain depressed with feelings of nowhere to turn. For other employees and the workplace in general, one case of depression can be devastating. It is critical to workplace safety that management personnel are properly trained to identify and assist those who may be depressed.
It can be a fine line to approach someone you suspect may be having mental health issues but early intervention can be key to successful treatment. It is estimated that over 80% of those with depression can be treated and their feelings of sadness, fatigue, a general lack of interest can be managed.
General signs of clinical depression can include difficulties performing tasks, a lack of cooperation, frequent mistakes or accidents, being absent, complaints about fatigue or pains, and signs of abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Depression can affect any demographic and is rated as the third leading problem in the workplace.
Management personnel should be properly trained to identify those in the workplace who actively display signs of depression and be instructed on how to interact with such situations including the initial approach. Many people will first deny issues with depression so training will be vital to encouraging proper treatment.
Employee will often be fearful of admitting to mental health issues for fear of losing their job or the respect of their employer or supervisor. For this reason it is important to have included such issues in the employee handbook which should outline the expectations for dealing with health issues, including mental health. Employers should not discriminate against those with impaired health conditions and employees should feel comfortable in seeking guidance and advice.
In order for workplace programs for depression to work successfully, the company environment must encourage a supportive community where all employees will feel they can find the resources and assistance they need.