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  Bye Sunday, Hello Monday… You have probably seen the symptoms in some of your employees. Maybe you can tell that they are arriving at the office with seemingly low energy, or they are constantly getting irritable, or they have simply become withdrawn. Whichever the case might be, you can tell that there are depressed people in your company. But what do you do?
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Workplace depression is slowly becoming a problem in the business world. Employers are often afraid of prying into their employees’ personal lives since their personal problems cannot be mixed with work. Owing to this, companies and large corporate bodies suffer huge decreased productivity. It is therefore important for an employer to try their best to ensure that a depressed employee is given help. Employers need to address depression at work, and they need to give up the impression that depression is a personal problem that needs to be ignored at work.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a period of unhappiness or low morale which lasts longer than several weeks and may include ideation of self-inflicted injury or suicide. This state of feeling often interferes with a person’s healthy functioning. It affects their feelings, thoughts and behaviours and can occur when the person suffering from it is going through a major life change that could be proving difficult to handle.
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Use the following tips to help your employees through bouts of depression:
  1. Know more about depression and talk to your employees. Caring for your employees is one of your responsibilities as an employer. When you learn more about mental illness, you can empower your staff with the knowledge. You could make a pamphlet and share it amongst them or invite a mental health advocate to talk to them during one of your workers’ retreats/conferences. Let them know all about mental illness and its prevalent symptoms.
  2. Invest in mental health services for depressed employees. These services could include yearly depression screenings, communication channels, mental health assessment forms, support groups, referrals to counselling/psychotherapy, and availability to those who need to talk. Simple compassionate gestures could help any of them currently dealing with depression.
  3. Do not try to offer a diagnosis. You were never trained to diagnose a mental illness. Hence, it is not your job to act as a psychologist. You can only be supportive towards them and try to create ways in which their needs as employees are catered to and the working environment is comfortable. If they are not meeting up to their performance objectives, you could talk to them to know what the matter is and thereafter, you could refer them to a psychotherapist.
  4. Try out some eco-therapy techniques as you create good working conditions in the workplace. To create a healthy work environment, you could grow live plants around the vicinity or create an aquarium that could help improve the moods of your employees. You could also invest in full-spectrum light bulbs, and make available healthy food options in the company’s cafeteria.
  5. Do not hesitate to offer help. Most times, people battling depression could begin to think of harming themselves. Depression, if left undiagnosed and treated for a longer period of time, may become life-threatening. Since depressed people do not often know how to ask for help, your depressed employee will likely refuse to get help on their own. Be quick to offer help when the situation gets too serious.
In summary, if you ignore workplace depression, your company will be affected adversely. Your employees will come off as frustrating to you because they will not be efficient as they used to. You can motivate and they will, in turn, become productive so that your company will record increased profits as a result of their efficiency. As an employer looking to excel in your field, you have to pay attention to workplace depression and find ways to deal with it. Featured Image Source: The Dawn Rehab Thailand
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This article was first published on 21st February 2022


Ohia, Ernest Chigaemezu is a writer, editor, and grade teacher based in Jos, Nigeria.

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