Reading the signs and avoiding the dead ends: Depression in the workplace

As people begin traveling for their summer vacations, they likely will use maps and signs to bypass the dead ends, and reach their destinations safely. Much like traveling, “reading the signs” also applies to mental health issues.

Depression is on the rise in the workplace today, and it’s pertinent for employers and employees to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms. The sooner they do, the more quickly employees can receive professional treatment and return to their life, and work healthier, happier and more productive.

Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization that addresses all aspects of mental health and mental illness, is a great resource for these types of issues. The following checklist points out several signs and symptoms of depression that employers and employees can watch out for:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in once-enjoyable activities
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as chronic pain or digestive disorders
  • Difficulty concentrating at work or at school, difficulty remembering things or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death[1]

If five or more of these symptoms are apparent over a two-week period, it’s likely time for that person to seek help. Depression is a very treatable illness. Despite the slight detour, with some professional help and guidance (think of it as a GPS navigation system), you can help employees get to their intended destination.

Like Helen Keller famously stated, “although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” There’s always hope.

[1] Copyrighted and published by the Mental Health America. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent.

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