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The mental health charity Mind state that one in six British workers get affected by mental health problems like depression, stress or anxiety each year. Deloitte found that this costs employers up to £45 billion per year. Depression is a serious mental health issue that needs addressing in the workplace.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to your staff. You must lookout for signs of depression at work and know-how to reach out to those affected. This article will provide an overview of depression and the signs to look out for. We’ll also consider depression and work absence and depression work rights in the UK.
Depression is not simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days - a basic definition would be “feeling down persistently for weeks or months”. At its mildest, it makes everything more challenging to do and seem less worthwhile.
In its most severe form, it can make a person feel suicidal, or give up the will to live. As well as mild, moderate and severe depression, there are specific types, including Seasonal Affective Disorder and Dysthymia (chronic depression).
Depression and anxiety are often experienced together. Depression can also be a symptom of other mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. People with severe depression can also experience some psychotic symptoms, for example, delusions and hallucinations.
Depression can affect anyone, regardless of gender or age. The causes of depression vary—factors can include life events, child experiences, genetics, stress and lack of sleep.
Depression and work can sometimes go hand-in-hand. Depression in the workplace is often triggered by workplace stresses that can cause the illness or make it seem worse. Long hours, dealing with difficult people or situations, and unreasonable targets could lead to depression caused by work.
The signs of work-related depression—or depression in general—vary from person to person. Sometimes, a person can just be suffering from a low mood. But if you spot a colleague who seems to suffer from any of the following 10 signs of depression, you should make sure to keep an eye on them:
Other symptoms include: Increased amount of sick or absent days, excessive forgetfulness, tiredness and excessive yawning, withdrawal from colleagues and work social events and more.
Not everyone displays signs of anxiety and depression the same way, so be careful not to jump to false conclusions.
Diagnoses of depression fall into three categories—mild, moderate and severe. These are an indicator of how badly it impacts your life, and affect the treatment you’ll be offered.
You can improve depression awareness by learning more about the specific types of depression below:
Employees diagnosed by the doctor can get signed off work with depression. The average time off work with depression varies from person to person. Depression leave from work follows the same rules as other kinds of sick leave. Working life can be difficult for employees with depression. Their ability to work is often greatly affected. You must allow employees time to recover from depression. Return to work interviews can also help to support an employee returning from mental health leave.
Depression and going to work can sometimes clash. There is often a link between depression and poor work performance. Symptoms we mentioned earlier like low moods, concentration problems and a lack of energy can cause work performance to decline. If this is the case, speak to the employee and see what adjustments you could make. As an employer, you have a duty of care to look after your workers.
The Equality Act (2010) protects employees from discrimination. There isn’t a specific depression protected characteristic under the Equality Act. But depression classifies as a disability under the act if all the below apply:
As we say, everyone suffers differently. But here are a few quick ways to offer support and guidance to someone with depression:
Our professional counsellors can support your employees with depression. We provide a 24/7 employee helpline that is open 365 days a year. With guidance and support employees can quickly get back on the road to recovery.
We can also guide managers and other staff members who may not feel equipped to take on these sensitive issues.
Arrange a call back from a workplace wellbeing expert today on 0844 891 0352 for help combating depression at work.
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